Standing Proud in Defeat

<P><b>First, let me lay a dumb old axiom to rest – there is NO such thing as a good loss. With that said, I am as disappointed as any of the ECU alumni, students, financial supporters, or the fair-weather crowd. I am not, however, ashamed of the game I watched yesterday in Chapel Hill. Quite the contrary, I am proud of my team and that I learned a few things on a day that some would write off as a wasted football Saturday.<B/>

#1 – UNC has a gorgeous football facility to accompany its beautiful campus setting. Somehow, they manage to fit 60,000 people into the same amount of space we squeeze 43,000 into in Greenville. All people over 5'4 can attest to the fact that there is more legroom in the smallest of buses or airplanes than in Kenan Stadium. Also, Ficklen has more restroom facilities for its 8,000 seat upper deck than the entire north side of Kenan, which probably uncomfortably seats 25,000+. I was pleasantly surprised to find no stupid video scoreboard, although I did try my best to sell ours to the UNC faithful that think that having one would be neat.

#2 – ECU was not meant to win this game. The oblong bounces of the football were not with us, as nearly every bounce & tip of the football favored UNC, from the UNC interception and subsequent touchdown that closed the gap to 10-7 early to the desperation on-side kick that rolled straight to the awaiting sure-handed enemy. ECU still had plenty of opportunity to win, but once again dropped passes and untimely penalties slowed the offense, while 3rd down lapses doomed the defense. ECU did not lose this game due to lack of focus, as was the case against Wake Forest. Instead, it was simply a case of their team executing just a couple more times than ours, hence the deserved victory.

#3 – This game should be played every 3rd or 4th year. As thick as the emotions were going into this game, not one single ECU fan around me embarrassed me with their antics, and conversely, I was treated with respect by the surrounding UNC fans. My recent trips to NC State, WVU, or even Alabama have not been a good display of human kindness. Sure, we traded verbal jabs, cheers, and jeers with the Tar Heel faithful, but I expect and even encourage that. We shouldn't need to waste the legislature's time for this game, and we shouldn't play the game every year or even every other. But every incoming ECU and UNC player and student should get the chance to enjoy this event during their matriculation process. Don't force them to wait 20 years like so many others.

In closing, I tip my hat to the Tar Heels. You deserve two more years of bragging rights. Just remember that only UNC players, coaches, students, alumni, & financial supporters earned this win, not those self-proclaimed Tar Heels that are fans by chance and only during good times. Hopefully I will see the same classy UNC fans again in Greenville in 2003, and every couple of seasons for my years to come.

Rob Moye, alias PortCityPirate

ECU Class of 1992

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