Carolina Christmas

Well, I didn't fare too badly this Christmas. I got 3 gifts, two of which I gave to myself and all three had something to do with Carolina. Maybe I should have included a fourth because the biggest and best gift was the win the football team and Coach Bunting gave me, but I am ashamed of my behavior when we muffed the punt at the end of the game. I thought I had advanced beyond the stage where I would shout and scream at the TV but when it happened, I exploded. I'm not trying to excuse my behavior, I trying to explain to my satisfaction what happened to cause me to go off like I did. I'm inclined to think that the missed extra point had been smoldering inside me and the dropped punt seemed to portend a scenario from Hades. For some reason, I honestly felt there was a good chance we were going to blow it at the end and by 1 point with no time to go. I'm not trying to take away from the outstanding game played by the Heels but it does rankle me that the score made the game appear closer than it really was. We were in control until the end and I will never forget the name "Moore" because he is the one who put a stop to the scenario that was unfolding. There will always be a warm spot in my heart for Mr. Moore.

I didn't get to Atlanta this year and I'm beginning to wish that I had. I have attended two Peach Bowls, one in 1971 where we hung with Arizona State for half of the game but finally imploded and lost big to a team thousands of miles from North Carolina led by a back from Nashville, N.C. by the name of Monroe Ely. Man, was it cold but it is always cold in Atlanta this time of the year and I really like the idea of playing the game in the Georgia Dome even though some of the traditionalists don't like it at all. I have to chuckle when I hear of all the amenities that were available in the Dome when I compare it to Grant Field ( Bobby Dodd Stadium ) back in the early 70's. There was a significant Tar Heel presence at both Bowl games I attended but nothing like what I am hearing about this year. I e-mailed the ramman and thanked him on behalf of Tar Heels everywhere for the role he played in rallying support for the game. His idea to have a Carolina Caravan for the game was brilliant and got us a lot of positive publicity since a couple of TV stations picked it up. Looks like it might become a Tar Heel tradition for away games in the future and something like this was needed to galvanize support for the team. I hope to meet the ramman sometime in the near future and, if I do, I plan to present him with the RamFanatic Carolina Spirit Award, a dozen Krispy Kremes. If I can't eat 'em, at least I can enjoy watching others consume my favorite sweet of all time.

My three gifts this year consisted of the following:

1. Rameses mascot-15" high who plays "I'm a Tar Heel Born" when squeezed. It is a recording by the Carolina Band inside Rameses and it has remarkable clarity. A second cycle of sound has a group chanting "Go Tar Heels" and then a drum roll and "Go Tar Heels" again. Apparently the mascot came out last summer but I didn't see it until my next door neighbor gave me one for Christmas. It is part of a "University Mascot Collection" marketed only by J.C. Penney. There are 15 schools in the collection but the only other ACC teams in the collection are Duke and Florida State. They were $29.95 originally but they have now dropped to $14,99 and will probably go lower as the after Christmas sales continue. I plan to track the prices closely and I may offer the local J.C. Penney store $10.00 a piece for the ones they have left after the $14.99 reduction. They make good gifts and I could give a couple of them to the Educational Foundation to use as door prizes at their annual meeting here in Richmond in the spring.

I showed the one I got to a friend of mine whose son was on the swimming team at Alabama and fortunately Alabama is one of the schools in the collection. The local J.C. Penney's didn't have the Alabama mascot (elephant) but my friend and his wife were determined to get one for their son for Christmas. It took a lot of phone calls and special shipping but the elephant made it to Richmond in time to be opened with the rest of the gifts and provided a special touch to Christmas for a Bama alum and his parents.

I've been long winded this morning so I am going to have to postpone writing about my other two gifts until later. It's snowing outside and we now have about 7 and one-half inches on the ground with more expected. Leroy, the Tar Heel Terror, may want to play in the snow, and that is a sight to see when there is as much on the ground as there is today. He thinks 6" is a blizzard since that represents his appropriate height. Dachshunds are not constructed to freely move around in snow, if you know what I mean. Built a little too close to the ground.