Tribe Proves Difficult

I have tried to keep my enthusiasm about Carolina football in check this year as the opening game approached. For years, I have gotten "this feeling" before the opening game that we are going "to surprise a lot of people this year." In recent years, we have or haven't surprised most UNC fans in the opening game, depending on your expectations, because many of us have learned to accept and even expect us to perform poorly in the opener. It's easier to be realistic after the first game because the mystery of what kind of a team we have will be removed. After we see the team perform, we have a much better handle on what we can realistically expect from the Heels for the rest of the season.

So experience tells me not to get all charged up for openers now, but a little voice inside me keeps saying this is the year we are going to be world beaters. I guess hope springs eternal, but hope doesn't win you football games.

The opening game of the season is always special because fans of all teams that have not done so well the previous season visualize some magic something having taken place during the off season and the futilities of the past have faded with the passing months between the last game of last season and the beginning of the new season.

I'm rambling a bit, but I needed to set the stage somewhat for what I and thousands of other Tar Heel fans experienced last Saturday against the Tribe of William and Mary, a school that is even older than UNC. I should have known from previous experience that W and M was not going to be a push over. Most of the games we have played with them over the years have been close with a couple of exceptions, and I will never forget my first game in Kenan Stadium which was the infamous tie in 1948 against a UNC team that many feel was the best in school history. We were undefeated going into the Sugar Bowl game with Oklahoma with only the W and M tie marring a perfect season's record.

I'm not going to try and mislead you about the game last Saturday. There were many positives, but the negatives were there also and if we don't solve them soon, it is going to be a long season. The positives were: a strong offense particularly the offensive line, a good running game, good passing at times, coming back from a deficit and much improved run defense. The negatives were: a porous secondary which had no interceptions and frequently allowed W and M receivers to get open, failure to sack the quarterback when penetration had been made on numerous occasions, failure to adjust to the squib kickoffs which negated our kickoff returns.

The comeback in the second half was unbelievable, and I refuse to wallow in misery when we win a game. There are no ugly wins and no pretty defeats.

I refuse to let the game spoil a beautiful day in Chapel Hill and ruin exciting activities associated with gameday other than the game itself. I had some Parker's BBQ and I still think that is one of the best moves UNC has made in Tar Heel Town. I still think they should solicit a western N.C. BBQ caterer to compete with Parker's. The BBQ battle in N.C. has now become famous nationwide, and I think it would be exciting to have both kinds in Tar Heel Town. I often wonder how fans from western N.C. feel about the fact that we have eastern BBQ but no western or Lexington style BBQ. I wonder if they grin and bear it or just decide not to partake of the vinegar based delicacy. Hard to completely satisfy a fan base as diverse as UNC's without somebody being dissatisfied.

I did notice fewer things going on in Tar Heel Town this year compared to previous years. The radio show with Woody and this year, Deems May, is still there and Rameses put in his appearance. They have a mesh cage like thing that the small children like to get in and bounce around. I'm sure it has a name but not being around many small children any more prevents me from knowing what it is called. They still have the rock climb but several of the things that have been there in the past were missing. No ESPN television exhibit, no hammer and bell strength testing machine, and no Italian ices. I remember one year they had a beach band playing and it seemed very popular. UNC's band was there and gets a lot of attention.

I like it but I still can't quite comprehend the fact that the administration allows people to actually do things on the grass in front of Wilson Library. Tar Heel Town overall is one of the best ideas UNC has come up with in recent years, but it has to be nurtured or it will wilt and die. The team walk is fabulous but there should be more people there to line the way from the bus to Wilson Library.

Returning from Chapel Hill, I told my friend that the last time W and M played in Chapel Hill, the W and M team busses heading back to Williamsburg passed me on I-85 near South Hill. I had no more that finished saying it when three chartered busses bearing the W and M team passed us. Earlier, they had turned onto Highway #58 which I never understood, but this time they continued on up I-85 probably to I-64 in Richmond. They were traveling a little faster than I wanted to go so I don't really know what route they took home.

To add to the excitement of the day, I learned in Chapel Hill that one of my lower beam headlights lights on my "heel mobile" was out and this left me with two options on the return trip to Richmond. Either run with one light or keep the bright lights on which has a tendency to irritate other drivers. I alternated between the two and made it back all right after a stop at Nunnary-Freeman's BBQ in Henderson. I didn't want BBQ twice in one day so I opted for a hamburger steak with string beans and black eyed peas. I mean they give some large servings there and I had to struggle to get it down. With a drink and refill my tab was $6.63. I don't know of another place anywhere that gives you as much good food for such a low price. Their trout dinner was $4.00.
Where are you going to get a full meal any more for $4.00? In case you are wondering, this is not a paid or any other kind of advertisement for Nunnary-Freeman. Just sharing information with Heels who might be traveling on I-85 and not know about NF.

Until next time.