A Second Look

Well, the dust has finally settled on UNC's basketball season and I have concluded that it was not a bad season at all. The principal reason most of us were so disappointed in the latter part of the season was that the 18 game winning streak gave us all expectations we had not anticipated. Looking back on things, I have to wonder if the disappointment would have been less had we not had the winning streak. Oh well, I'm reminded of what I was told years ago and it certainly is true. There is no good way to lose, just like there is no good way to fire somebody. I'm still upbeat about the basketball program. I might not have agreed with everything Matt Doherty has done but I didn't expect to. Believe it or not, I didn't agree with everything DES did and I don't want to talk about Coach Gutheridge. I think he is a fine man but I was not happy during the time he was coach and I'm prepared to cut MD a lot of slack as he sets about to return the program where it belongs. I didn't realize it at first but I realize now it will take a couple of years for us to regain our position nationally and next year could be rough. Hope springs eternal, however, and we may surprise with next year's team.

The next few months will be challenging, to say the least, for RamFanatic and the web site. We began on Oct. 14th of last year and from that date to our departure from the NCAA playoffs, there has been activity in one or both of our high profile sports. This is no longer the case and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that it will be more difficult to post articles twice a week during this "off season" than it was when the football and basketball teams were active. It's true that many of my posts have not been of current activities but even articles concerning UNC's athletic past become more difficult to come by as time passes. I have considered several alternative approaches to get me through this inactive period.

First, I considered discontinuing the web site. It has been a pleasant experience and I have made many friends that I would never have met otherwise and communicating with these people on such diverse topics as the '57 basketball season to what constitutes "country style" steak has been fun. I have decided that I am not quite ready to discontinue the site. There are too many topics that I haven't written on yet but I will admit some apprehension about meeting the two posts per week commitment which I earlier made. I'm fully aware of the fact that a good way to lose viewers is to have infrequent posts. I hope I'm up to the challenge.

The second alternative was to shut the site down until football season begins but this might be de facto "killing" the site. I don't think it's reasonable for me to expect everyone to take a 6 month break from the site and return on cue to a new season. I'm proud of the 4500 visits that have been made to the site and I want to see that number grow. Stated differently, I didn't want to have to start all over with the site. Some things can't be recaptured and this may be one of them. Therefore, I have decided against shutting the web site down until football season.

What does that leave as an alternative? Expansion of subject material is the only viable alternative I can think of and that may not work. We already have a couple of subjects that fall outside the realm of UNC athletics in food, hot dogs and BBQ. These areas offer some opportunities for expansion but not enough. So, I have decided to try relating tales of my Virginia travels for a while, always trying to give them a Tar Heel twist whenever possible. My former boss and I have been taking one day trips every other Wednesday for over six years. I dare say we have visited every city and town in Virginia east of Roanoke and, in some instances, several times. We both are interested in history but the highlight of each trip is the interaction with the people we meet. We originally thought that people would be too busy to talk with us when we visited their cities and towns but that has not been the case. I'm talking here about people at the convenience marts, court houses, sheriff's offices, people in their front yards, flea markets etc. We have had only one negative situation in over six years and we know what caused that. A pretty good batting average, don' you think?

So, beginning on Friday I will write about a trip we took last week to Poplar Forest near Lynchburg. Fortunately, the trip has a Tar Heel twist because I am always decked out in in a Carolina cap or sweat shirt, sometimes, both. In Virginia, that is enough to begin a conversation and surprisingly, it is not always a negative "ice breaker."

We'll see how it goes. You may find the tales entertaining and/or you might find that you would like to visit the locales where we have been. If you are a history buff and in the Triangle area, you might find the Poplar Forest trip a pleasant one. I

That's it for now. It would be nice if more of you would communicate with me. While I am proud of the 4500 visits referred to earlier, I am not particularly proud of the fact that only about 40 persons have signed the guest book. I don't like to think these 40 persons made all of the 4500 visits. If that's true, maybe I had better rethink the whole thing.