Dead Man Walking

Some of my buddies who attend Carolina games with me have been referring to me by the above moniker since an event that occurred several years ago. While I was initially somewhat embarrassed by the situation which gave rise to the assignment of the nick name, I have grown to love it and I now embrace it with affection.

It all started on a cold winter's night when I was having a few Coronas and decided to catch up on a few financial matters that had been in limbo for quite some time. One of these matters was the need to send in a contribution to the Kenan Stadium expansion and Football Center project. I wrote the check and provided the requested information to have my name placed on one of the donor's plaques that were to be placed at the Center.

So it was with a great deal of anticipation that I went to the first game after the Center had been completed, hoping to show the members of my gang how I would be remembered for eternity as a supporter of the Tar Heel football program.

My plan was to casually find my name on the plaque and then subtly bring it to the attention of my friends. Well, I looked and looked and looked and I could not find an entry for " Frank, Betty Lou and Leroy Gay." I thought of asking someone in the Center for information but decided against this since, in all likelihood, the people on duty for game day would not have the information required for clarification.

As we were preparing to leave the Center and take our seats in Kenan, I decided to take one last look to see it my name had been placed in the wrong category. I looked under "In Memoriam" and guess what. There it was in plain view that I, along with Mrs. RamFanatic and Leroy, the Tar Heel Terror were identified as former Tar Heels who had gone on to that big stadium in the sky. It took a few minutes before it fully registered and I could work up enough nerve to tell my friends what had happened. They got a big kick out of it, particularly when they saw that I wasn't perturbed over what had taken place. It didn't take long for them to come up with "Dead Man Walking" since the movie by the same name was fresh in everyone's mind at the time.

After returning to Richmond, I decided to call the Educational Foundation offices to determine what had happened. I didn't tell them about the situation at first, I simply asked if they would check my card to see where I had indicated I wanted my name placed on the plaque. They told me I had marked the box which said "In Memoriam" and then asked if there was a problem. I told the young lady what had happened and to say that she was upset is putting it mildly. I tried to assure her that I was not upset but I did ask her if she would send me a photocopy of the card so I could see for myself why I would mark "In Memoriam" as the location I wanted for my name. She sent the photocopy and sure enough, there it was for the world to see. I had marked the wrong box and there was no denying it.

The people handling the plaques offered to include my name on a new plaque which was being prepared but I assured them I was comfortable with things the way they were. After all, I told them, this is one problem that time will take care of since in a few years it won't matter whether I am in the "Active" or "In Memoriam" section. I appreciated everyone's concern about the situation but I had no one to blame but myself.

One good thing came out of the experience. No longer do I write checks while I am enjoying a few Coronas. I'm just glad I didn't agree to pay for the entire Football Center on that card and Mrs. RamFanatic is thankful also. Leroy is so proud his name is on the plaque that he hasn't commented yet.

Check it out the next time you are at the Football Center and have a chuckle on ole RamFanatic.