Red Invasion

Much has been said and written about the so called "red invasion "last Saturday so I would like to make a comment or two since I inadvertently got involved right in the middle of it.

Maybe I should begin by setting the scene for those who were not in attendance at the game. There were significant numbers of fans dressed in red t-shirts but probably no more than East Carolina brought dressed in their school colors last year. Wolfpack red is hard to ignore and, from an attention getting standpoint, probably scores higher than Carolina blue. Translated, this means that one red t-shirt in a section will probably get more attention than 75% of the fans who are adorned in Carolina blue. Most of the State fans were seated in the usual visitors' seats but there were three other sections where State colors were predominant. These were on the South Side at the East goal line, the East end zone and a section on the North side near the goal line. There was a smattering of red shirts throughout the stadium including some near midfield. I had a couple two rows back of me but they didn't present a problem.

I didn't pay much attention to the "Red Invasion" thing until I got to my usual parking lot near Rosemary and Columbia Sts. The lot is in front of what used to be a hair salon but is now used only for parking both on game day and regular school days.

When I arrived, there were more cars than usual in the lot and I noticed the lady who owns the lot acted a little flustered when I pulled up to pay. She started explaining that the State fans had arrived early and she didn't have many parking spaces left. She found one for me but I could hear her discussing the problem with her assistant and she was voicing apprehension about where her regular UNC parkers were going to park. I really didn't know what was going on at this point.

I left the lot to walk to the Old Well Walk and went by Woody's ( formerly the Four Corners ) on East Franklin St. There was a line out of the restaurant/bar onto the sidewalk and most of those in line wore red t-shirts. We peeked inside and saw that the place was filled with customers clad in Wolfpack red. Keep in mind that we were unaware, at this time, of the "invasion" and continued on to the OWW.

Walking to Kenan, we saw several Wolfpack cars parked in the Bell Tower parking lot, several of which were having an elaborate tailgate party with all of the participants dressed in red. To see this was not a good feeling. To this point, no one dressed in red had uttered a word, hostile or otherwise, to me and vice versa.

After arriving at the stadium, I saw the most sickening sight I have ever seen in 54 years of attending games there. There were several groups of red in the Carolina STUDENT SECTION. It was enough to make me want to puke. I'm a pretty civil fellow but enough is enough. The only possible explanation for the red in the student section is that UNC students stood in line last week to get their tickets and then, one way or another, sold or gave their tickets to State fans. I'll let you decide which you think it was. It was bad enough that the State fans got the tickets, but not as bad as the arrogance of the fans to wear their school colors smack dab in the middle of the opponent's student section. It was asking for trouble.

I am not going to say anything else about the tickets in the student section except that in this age of high technology, some sort of system could and should be adopted that would solve this problem. If a student had to show or have an ID scanned, then this situation could not happen. It is not rocket science and I don't think it would be that expensive. I would prefer an identification system to a jumbotron but that's another story.

So what was my take on the behavior of the State supporters. Believe it or not, I did not see or hear one offensive word or act by the Wuffies that was in the direction of trouble. Maybe I was just lucky. I delayed returning to the Heel Mobile because I thought the State victory mixed with alcohol meant there could be trouble when I returned to the parking lot. No one said a word to me and by that time, the owner of the lot was laughing, a dramatic change from her demeanor when I first arrived. She told me that she had learned that her son-in-law, a State grad, was responsible for the State fans descending on her lot, but once the stress of the situation was over, she was able to laugh about it.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the plan for the "red invasion" was included in the free football handout, published by the Daily Tar Heel. One I was in my seat, I read the entire plan which included the part about my parking lot being a designated target. It even included last year's takeover in the Smith Center as being the first phase of the invasion.

Blue Blitz was successful, in my opinion, and I don't think I have ever seen as much Carolina Blue as was at the game. My wife who watched the game on TV said the blue showed up very nicely on TV and it caused me to wonder if I was overreacting to the invasion. After some thought, I have decided that I have NOT over reacted. I don't mind Wolfpack Red in Carter-Finley there are some things in Kenan that look better in blue.

When will we wake up!