Odds and Ends, Part 8
We seem to be making it through the summer without a dramatic reduction in traffic. I am fully aware that the articles are not as UNC oriented as they are during the sports seasons but, hopefully, the topics haven't been too boring.
Washington Birthday Party
Some people might find it corny, but I always enjoy the birthday party they throw for the nation each July 4th in Washington. While I'm not as enamored with fireworks as I once was, I can take them for a while and I think the choice of artists and songs are usually outstanding.
This year, I was particularly pleased that Clay Aiken, a native Heel who attended that other UNC, was featured on the program. I was particularly pleased that he chose "I'm Proud To Be An American" but I was somewhat disappointed in his rendition of that patriotic favorite. Lee Greenwood's version was much better. Aiken's voice didn't seem strong enough to carry the song. Oh well, I like it when the people like Aiken, and I think he has been a good ambassador for North Carolina. All the American Idol stars seem to be from the South or a least since I have been watching.
I almost forgot. When Aiken was introduced, the master of ceremonies committed a faux pas that brought back some memories for me. He said, and then quickly corrected himself, that Aiken was from North C'lina.
The memory was of my father who used to pronounce Carolina, C'lina. It used to embarrass me to no end, but don't think for a moment that he was the only one to pronounce it that way. Of course, my father used to pronounce Chevrolet with the "t" on the end. Maybe he was showing his contempt for the French long before it became so popular.
The most amazing thing about the Washington party, however, was the commercial airliner which flew over the area being used for the fireworks while the fireworks were going off. I thought there would be something in the press the following day, but I didn't see a word. For a while, I thought maybe I had "seen things" until I mentioned it in a group the other day and a fellow said, "I saw that also." Maybe it wasn't really dangerous but it sure seems that it would be and the symbolism is frightening. Why in the world would that plane fly through the area where fireworks were going off is beyond me in this age where everybody's mind is on terrorism. Even if it wasn't dangerous, it should not have been done. If nothing else, it has caused me to question our homeland defense a little more.
Has it ever occurred to you how the three national championship basketball games we have won had similar endings. In all three games, the opponent came down the court at the end of the game with a chance to win the game and in all three instances, they failed. In '57, Joe Quigg blocked a shot and Tommy Kearns threw the ball in the air to run the clock out, in '82, the Georgetown guard, Brown, threw the ball to James Worthy by mistake, and in '93, Webber called the time out when Michigan had no time outs left. Maybe a good summary of these three instances would be that the opponent's failure to convert at the end of the most important game of the year is not Carolina's problem. Now if we could just get our current team to understand that this is a habit that is not to be emulated. Don't get me started about our inability last year to pull out close games at the end.
Kupchak In Trouble?
Next time you think your job is bad and that maybe you aren't as secure in your employment as you might have thought, think of old Mitch Kupchak. Not only has his boss injected himself into the General Manager's job, Shack was not shy is criticizing Kupchak before he was traded and seemed to lay the problems at Kupchak's feet.
While we are talking about the Lakers, can you believe Phil Jackson had the nerve to ask for $15 million a year after NOT winning the NBA championship. I can't confirm it but this is what I have read. A North Carolinian is currently the highest paid coach in any sport and that is Joe Gibbs at 5 and one half million annually. If Coach Williams or Coach K would have gone with the Lakers, either would have surpassed Gibbs.
Names From The Past
I was watching Sports Century the other night on Brett Favre and heard a name from UNC's athletic past that some may remember. They said that one day in practice at Southern Mississippi, Coach Jim Carmody saw a football sailing on a rather long trajectory and asked "Who threw that ball?" He was told that Brett Favre had thrown it who was a defensive back at the time. The rest is history. William Henderson, former UNC fullback now with the Green Bay Packers, said that Favre puts a lot of steam on his passes and he had the dislocated fingers to prove it.
Another funny story about the Southern Mississippi team getting drunk the night before a game and puking throughout the game the following day. When I told this to my friend who attended ECU, his response was "I hope it wasn't against East Carolina. Losing is bad enough, but losing to a bunch of drunks is too much to bear."
I don't know who the opponent was, but I suspect my ECU friend may remember some unpleasant Saturdays against South. Miss. Jim Carmody, for those of you who are too young to know, was on Bill Dooley's staff as an assistant, and according to people I have talked with, was quite a character.
Enough for now.