Busing Is The Answer


In my 52 years of attending athletic events at Carolina, I believe I have tried every parking arrangement known to man. Every time I have gotten comfortable with my parking location, somebody would effect a change that would require me to search for a new place to park. Years ago, I would park on the Raleigh Road , Highway #54, with two wheels of my automobile up on the curb and the other two left on the road. This was a lot of fun because your space in the line of cars was determined by what time you arrived. The earlier the better. There were no parking attendants to tell you what to do, you just went to the end of the line and "bumped" the curb to get your right wheels up on the ground adjacent to the road. I'm sure many a garage benefited from the front wheel alignment business created when the wheels hit the curb. I can't remember when that arrangement was discontinued, but it seems like it was around 25 years ago.


For a while, I parked on the intramural field but that was declared "off limits", so it was necessary to find another place. I remember chartered busses used to park next to each other at the track end of the field and even though it couldn't be called "tailgating" it always looked like the passengers were having such a great time before and after the game I imagine some of them even "took a drink" during those days and one thing to be said for this method of attending the games was that no one had to worry about a "designated driver" since the driver of the bus served very well in that capacity. I. don't believe there are any chartered busses anymore. Bill Millikin used to organize a charter from Richmond, but he informed me recently that he would not be doing that any more. Seems people want the convenience of their personal vehicles and therein lies the problem.


The best arrangement currently available for athletic event parking is, in my opinion, the shuttle bus There are several locations serviced by the shuttle busses, but the one I find most convenient is at University Mall. Parking is not a problem there and the trip to Kenan or the Smith Center is well worth the $4 round trip. It's actually fun riding these busses. The people are friendly if you will take the initiative to start the conversation. Most of the people riding the busses are Carolina fans so you immediately have something in common with persons who, under other circumstances, would be total strangers. I have never encountered an individual who was not friendly once I "broke the ice" and started the conversation. Occasionally, there will be a few fans from the school we are playing but even they are pleasant. Maybe it's because they are so out-numbered.


One particularly pleasant moment occurred several years ago when I was talking with a young lady and casually mentioned it was my birthday. Without any pronouncement or warning to me, she began singing in a beautiful and loud voice "Happy Birthday To You". It seemed like everyone on the bus joined in as her choir. As we approached the part where you sing the name of the person being sung to, she leaned over and with out missing a beat asked, "What Is Your Name?". I told her and she shouted out my name so that it was incorporated into the singing, again without missing a beat. I shouted out something like "Coach Smith knows what I want as a birthday present" and everyone laughed. DES didn't disappoint. We beat Wake Forest that night when they were really good.


One other incident occurred that my friend and laugh about today but probably wasn't all that funny to the other passengers. After a game we had lost, my friend ad I got separated on the bus. Not giving It much thought, he "hollers" back to me, "Why don't you just shut up". Knowing he was kidding, I shouted back, "Why don't you come back here and shut me up? You could have heard a pin drop on that bus. Once my friend and I realized what we'd done, we spent the rest of the trip explaining and apologizing to the passengers that we knew each other and were joking. He and I agree we will never do anything like that again. Let me assure you this is not an advertisement for the shuttle service, but maybe you ought to try this parking arrangement. You may be missing something. It's gotten so I look forward to the bus trip almost with as much anticipation as the game itself . That may be an overstatement, but there is no question but what the bus ride adds to the  excitement and enjoyment of the athletic event itself.