Observations of a Couch Potato
Here are a few observations I made last Saturday while watching TV and awaiting the UNC-Georgia Tech Game.
I noticed a man wearing a Virginia Tech T shirt standing immediately behind the Duke bench and looking sort of official like. I tried to figure out what his job might be but I never did. The Duke people seemed to ignore him. Maybe he was the officials' microphone maintenance man and was there in case his services were needed. If that were the case, you would think he would have stood behind the Va. Tech bench, not the Duke bench. I wonder if his presence had an inhibiting effect on what the Duke coaches said to their players.
John Swofford was at the Duke-Va. Tech game as he was earlier at the Fla. State-Miami game. I guess his job requires him to perform certain functions like this, but I wonder if he knows how many people are not all that thrilled with expansion. At least, that's what I hear, but I may hang out with an older crowd who are more wedded to tradition that most younger fans.
While watching the Duke-=Va. Tech, West Virginia-Maryland, and State- Ohio State games, I noticed a dramatic difference in the atmosphere compared to Kenan stadium. I noticed a difference until I heard the UNC-Ga. Tech game on the radio, and then I wasn't sure there was a difference at all. Several people who were at the Ga. Tech-UNC game have said that the crowd enthusiasm and noise was the best it has been in years. I think there are several reasons for that.
The starting time contributed to the atmosphere. There's something about a night game and the lights that seems to improve things. The heat is not so oppressive and I have a theory that night games bring back pleasant memories of high school games for a lot of people. Of course, a night game gives the crowd a chance to get better lubricated before the game and that has both an up and a down side. I have talked with some people who were at the Ga. Tech game and they said the crowd behavior in the stands was the worst they had seen in some time. This was from a person who regularly attends concerts and his observation was that there was a lot of drinking and smoking going on. He moved his seat
3 times during the game. I really don't know if we are going to have more night games in the future. The Athletics Department says their recent survey of fans does not indicate night games are the preferred starting time. Many have long drives home after the game and it makes attending church very difficult if you don't get to bed until early on Sunday morning.
I am very pleased with the game performance of our new kicker Conner Barth, but I was surprised at the number of kickoffs that went into the end zone and further in the games I watched. The wind could have been a factor in the games I watched, but it surprised me. If this trend continues, look for there to be a rule change, moving the kickoff spot even further back. Kickoffs are exciting, but the down side is that most of the injuries in football occur on kickoffs and punts. There's no doubt, however, that to remove kickoff returns as a part of the game would make for less excitement. Maybe Mack Brown came up with the "sky kick" to avoid injuries. I never met a person who liked it and I never did figure out why MB did it. Who else have you seen do it?
I thought having the Va. Tech mascot lift fabricated weights to celebrate the score was clever. One of the things that bothers me about the "Carolina Way" is that I don't think we are as willing to "break the mold" as some other schools are. Tradition is generally a good thing, but not always. Is it a good tradition to arrive late at games and leave early? Maybe to some it is, but not to me. I remember the Justice years and it surely wasn't the tradition then. I think it became a tradition when we had several consecutive down years and we have never been able to reverse it. There has been some real progress on the wearing of blue and I can't wait to see how it looks on TV against Louisville. I won't be able to be in Kenan Stadium this Saturday but GamePlan has picked up the game, so I'll get to watch it at my nearby Baileys. Hope there are no Louisville fans there, but if they are, that will be O.K. One of the Managers is a friend of mine and he is a huge UNC fan.
Virginia Tech Football Pants
I thought Virginia Tech would be the only school to adopt the new high fashion football pants, but I noticed that State's pants are very similar. I'm talking about the "toreador tear." I see nothing wrong in making minor changes to uniforms every now and then, but why do schools have to constantly change the shade of color, mascot and even the styling of the uniforms. Remember the State unitards that lasted only a couple of games? I never did get to see them, but everyone I have talked with who did said they were horrible. The coaching staff must have agreed because they disappeared before I saw State on a TV game that year and I missed it. Wonder if those uniforms would qualify for admission to the College Basketball Hall of Fame on the basis of departure from the norm. It took real courage to proceed with that experiment.
Well, I have outsmarted myself again. I have many more observations I would like to write about but I'm running out of space. Maybe I will sneak another installment in somewhere along the way.
By the way, the web site had another record breaking day recently and this month is a record breaking month. Last week, we had 223 visits in one day. Looks like we are going to surpass 4000 visits for the month.