Virginia Game Notes

I have given up on being able to estimate the crowds in Kenan and I used to be pretty good at it. The official attendance was listed as 53,500 but I don't believe there were 8500 empty seats. The stadium filled up slowly as usual but by mid way of the 1st quarter, it was pretty well filled. I usually key on the student section on the upper deck at the west end and it filled up eventually even though there were quite a few empty seats at kickoff. Most of the empties seemed to be in the end zone. Believe it or not, I have friends who specify they want to sit in the end zone. They love it. Maybe it's the cup holders and the seat backs but the end zone is not where I prefer to sit.

Tar Heel Town gets better each time out and it is light years ahead of where it was when it was to the side of the Wilson Library. The Tar Heel Mile or whatever you want to call the team departing the bus and walking through the band and fans will grow with each passing game and is a wonderful addition to the game day experience. In addition, Parker's BBQ has dropped their price from $6.25 per plate to $5.00. Best bargain I have seen in a long time and for those transplants who don't really have an appreciation for North Carolina BBQ, there is a Red, Hot and Blue setup.

I parked in a private lot near downtown Chapel Hill for the game because I had a friend with me who wanted to visit the "Carolina Stuff" shops on East Franklin St. It suited our needs perfectly since we wanted to be at Tar Heel Town when the team arrived in addition to having time to buy more UNC items. The shuttle busses and the regular busses from University Mall are fun but I stay nervous about arrival time. I don't like to miss anything on game day. One of my favorite rituals is to listen to the percussion section warm up before they march over to Kenan. It always gets me in the mood for the game.

I hope I don't impose on anyone's privacy with this but I saw something Saturday that made me feel good as a Tar Heel and also as a human being. Those of you in the Triangle area may be aware of this because the coverage of all things Carolina is much better there than in the hinterlands. But I was unaware that the Marching Tar Heels have a member who is blind. I first noticed her when she walked past me with another band member while the percussion group was warming up and I mentioned it to a gentleman who was sitting next to me on the stone wall. He confirmed the fact and said that she was in the band last year also. I have previously confessed that I was so upset at Carolina football last year that, for the first year in many years, I didn't have a season ticket, so I wouldn't have seen her. He said that she participates in the warm ups with the band at the Library and then is transported to Kenan in a golf cart. I located her with my binoculars and discovered that she plays the drums, the kind that are strapped around the waist of the drummer. I don't know the technical name for these kinds of drums. The drums are stationary on a special stand on the sidelines, and when the band is performing on the field she, along with a couple of other band members with instruments that that are not mobile such as the xylophone, etc., remains there. When the band finished playing, a member of the dance team came up and took her arm and led her to her seat with the rest of the band.

I hope I haven't committed a faux pas by mentioning the above because I know that some disabled people are very sensitive about receiving special attention. Some just want to blend in with the group with no fanfare. I wanted to share this with you because it made me feel good and, Lord knows, most of us could use something to make us feel good lately.

Usually when I am walking out of Kenan Stadium after a game, I cannot avoid overhearing several conversations. In most instances, these conversations are about the game. But last Saturday none of these conversations were about the game and this coupled with less than a sell out crowd and no TV makes me wonder if we are entering a new era in fan interest. I find it hard to believe that people would not have been excited over beating a team that has had our "number" for the past 20 years but something is different. Maybe some people just don't believe the success the team has enjoyed to date or better still, maybe the empty seats are ECU fans who bought season tickets for their game alone and are not interested in attending any other games. If that is the case then we won't have a sellout this year.

Good to hear fans singing God Bless America, The Star Spangled Banner and Hark the Sound. Usually I am the only one singing but not so last Saturday. Two young gentlemen seated in front of me didn't sing but they applauded after the song was over. This made me think that maybe they didn't know the words. Someone of my age finds that hard to believe for the Star Spangled Banner but I guess it's possible. This might be a good time for those who don't know the words to learn them. I don't think I would have been allowed out of grammar school if I had not known the words to the national anthem. Changing times.

One thing I have always enjoyed when we play UVA is seeing the UVA flags disappear from vehicles on the return trip to Virginia when Carolina wins. On the way down from Richmond, quite a few of these flags are in evidence but not on the return trip. Of course, I manage to misplace mine on the return trip to Richmond when the Cavaliers win. The world loves a winner, don't they?

This has nothing to do with the Virginia game but someone posted it on one of the message boards and I think it bears repeating. Based on a post made after it appeared, it may be from a movie but since I don't watch very many movies, I just don't know.

Here goes.

What Is A Real Man?

It's easy to grin when your ship comes in and you've got the stock market beat, But the man worth while is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat.

I guess this applies to women also but I don't think we'll go there.