Pre Game Music

I like to think of myself as an avid UNC alum and supporter of ALL UNC sports activities. Does this mean that I agree with everything the UNC Athletic Department does? Certainly not, and for those who might be inclined to question my loyalty when I disagree with decisions made about UNC athletics, I would maintain that my loyalty to UNC is as great as that of those who blindly follow the University line on every issue.

Now that we have the question of allegiance behind us, there is something I would like to discuss that has been a source of concern to me for sometime now. That is the question of pre-game music, both in Kenan and at the Smith Center.

I will begin by conceding that I may not be the typical Carolina fan anymore now that I have become a senior citizen. Not that there aren't a lot of us but I would imagine that the average age of a Carolina fan attending a UNC sports event is considerably less than someone who graduated in 1958. I mention this because I think it is necessary to acknowledge the fact that attitudes, tastes and behaviors of today's typical UNC fan may not correspond with my notion of what is best, right or proper. I have changed considerably over the years but occasionally an area is encountered where the cultures of the two worlds, young and old collide. One of these is music and more specifically the question of what type of music should be played before UNC athletic contests.

For the past few years, the music played before the games has increasingly become a source of irritation to me and if I can believe those with whom I have talked on the subject, a source of concern for many other fans also. A couple of years ago I was so disturbed with the music selection and the volume of the music before football games that I called the Educational Foundation to express my displeasure. Mid way through my first sentence, the EF official to whom I was talking stopped me and said that he had received so many calls regarding the music that he could assure me that something would be done to rectify the situation. He said even Coach Brown had complained about the volume of the music and, in my opinion, he had every reason to complain. It was next to impossible to carry on a conversation in the stands before the game over the booming sounds of the "music".

I did notice a change in the volume of the music after that but the selections continued to be much the same. It's called" motivational" music which means the music is supposed to get the players in the right mood or frame of mind for the game. I don't know exactly what term to use to describe this music but I believe it comes under the general heading of "Hip Hop". At least, it sounds like what I get on my Broadband music channels when I punch in "Hip Hop". I am fully cognizant of the influence music can have on behavior after talking with several companies who promised they could increase sales in Virginia Liquor Stores by playing a certain type of music. It works in regular retail operations but we decided against using it as a device for increasing sales in Liquor Stores. I understand that the music played may have a positive effect on the attitude of football players preparing to go into combat with the enemy. And I can take a certain amount of it, but my body and mind have a built in computer which registers the cumulative effects of a prolonged bombardment and, at some point, a fuse is blown.

Now I am not suggesting that we eliminate this music completely but it does seem to me that we could have a better mix in the pre-game music. For example, we used to play James Taylor's "In My Mind I'm Going To Carolina" before both football and basketball games. I haven't heard this song, which other schools would kill for, in quite some time at Kenan and the Smith Center is a separate story in itself. I can think of no other university that has a song so connected with the state and it's flagship university than "In My Mind" with the possible exception of West Virginia and "Country Home". I'm told that the women's soccer team members play this song before their matches on their own tape players. Talk about getting the players ready to play, I think they usually look pretty prepared when they take the field. An additional connection is the James Taylor-Chapel Hill one. It is perfect for pre-game music but I haven't heard it at Kenan or the Smith Center in years.

Another one that used to be played in Kenan was Andy Griffith's "What It Was Was Football". Haven't heard that one in a while either. I believe they last played it when the coaches moved their offices into the Football Center. Only problem was there were no fans in the stands.

I read on one of the message boards that one poster feels there has been marked improvement in the music selection this year. I have met this poster and I respect him but I don't agree with him. I personally can't tell much difference between the music this year and the past several years. I can't argue the matter quantitatively since I don't know the titles of the songs being played. I know all songs are supposed to have titles but I doubt that some of the selections which seem to go on endlessly with "Ooch-che-cha" and other sounds difficult to describe with the written word.

I have come up with one song which seems to represent a middle ground between "Carolina Moon" and "Who Let The Dogs Out" and that is "Celebration Time, Come On". Youngsters will laugh and call this old fashioned but what I would like to see is a mixture or a middle ground in this battle. It can be done.

So after trying to collect my thoughts for this article, what do I read on one of the boards this week? That Coach Bunting and his wife now select the pre-game music. I didn't know this and, if true, maybe you should ignore all I have written above. I am behind Coach Bunting 98% of the time and I don't want to make his job more difficult than it has to be. I want him to continue doing what he has been doing so well and that is to have the Heels ready to play every Saturday. I can always take my favorite tapes with me and go through my game preparation in a very personalized way. Whatever works.