The Week That Was
Last week was not just another week for me and a lot of other Tar Heels. The uncertainty of how well our basketball team will do continued and wasn't helped by our performance against Binghamton on Sunday. Soccer occupied many of us but the disappointment of the women's loss to Santa Clara at the beginning of the week was erased by the men's win over Indiana which resulted in the National championship.
I'm beginning to believe there is something to the notion that entering the playoffs with an unblemished record is a burden rather than a strength. It happened to our women's team and it happened to SMU in the men's playoffs. It's easy to say that an undefeated record doesn't add pressure to the situation but it would appear that it does. Makes me more appreciative of the undefeated record of the '57 basketball team and their national championship. Of course, the final two games which were both triple overtimes added excitement to that season which will never be duplicated.
I don't know much about soccer but I enjoy watching games when UNC is involved, both men's and women's. The women have enjoyed much more success than the men but it would appear that the men's soccer program is rising to a new level. I spend a lot of time on the UNC related message boards and occasionally I see things that completely surprise me. I'm fully aware of the fact that message board information is suspect but a poster the other day said that Coach Bolowich seemed to respond positively to the ultimatum given him by Athletics Director Baddour. I can only assume that reference was being made to previous Chancellor Hooker's definition of what would constitute satisfactory performance for Carolina's head coaches. I have no first hand knowledge about ultimatums ( or is it ultimata ) but it was widely circulated at the time that the baseball, women's tennis, men's golf, men's lacrosse and football coaches had these
expectations (requirements) explained to them. None of the coaches who were in the positions listed above at the time are now employed by UNC. It's easy for an organization to become stale. I've seen it in real life many times. Human nature causes people to rest on their past laurels and oftentimes connections and likability permit individuals to remain in positions long after their performance would justify removal. This is one of the biggest arguments against promotions from within. Individuals promoted from within an organization are oftentimes reluctant to demand improvement in performance from those who were formerly their co-workers. A change at the top and new blood brought in from the outside is the most effective method of effecting dramatic change in the corporate culture but it is usually upsetting to many.
I may not understand the intracies of soccer but I know enough to be able to determine that Santa Clara beat us fair and square and on the day of the final game, they were the superior team. I don't say they were the superior overall but in the game against us, they did something ( I don't know what) that completely shut our offense down. I did notice that Santa Clara's players looked to be taller and stronger than our girls. I'm sure there are disadvantages to being taller but if so, they were disguised very well by Santa Clara. I really felt sorry for the Carolina player who was crying after the game and I don't understand why television has decided that we would like to see anybody, be it friend or foe, enduring the agony of defeat. It hasn't always been that way. What is the term I see used so much these days. We have become a much courser society than we used to be. You decide whether being coarser is an improvement or not.
The men's game was the women's game in reverse. I'm sure there are Indiana fans who feel they could beat the Heels in a rematch but there was no doubt in the final game who the superior team was on that day. When you get to the Final Four, all the teams are good and usually any of the teams are good enough to win it all. In soccer particularly, score differentials are small and the loser can generally tie a game up to the last second. What a comeback we had against Stanford in the semifinal game when we were down by two goals with 10 minutes to go and then proceeded to score two goals in a period of 1 minute. Outstanding. I may have worn-out my remote switching channels from the Binghamton basketball game to the Indiana soccer match. I was afraid I was going to miss something in each one and, for the first time in my life, I was glad to see commercials appear for obvious reasons. The men's soccer win will help us with the Sears Cup and we were 4th before we won the championship. I think I will do some research and write about the Sears Cup at a later date. There is something basically wrong in the way scoring is done but I want to have more information before I launch an assault.
I had planned to write about the basketball team but this article is running longer than I thought it would so maybe we should postpone it until a later time.
I don't know when the perfect time is to wish others a Merry Christmas but now is as good as any. May all of you and your loved ones have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. These words sound a little different this year after the events of 9-11. None of us know what the future holds so let's try to enjoy the present to the fullest. We have a lot to be thankful for both as Tar Heels and as citizens of the greatest nation the world has ever known, even with all our imperfections.