To the Abyss and back

Folks, I have a confession to make. I have been to the Abyss, and it wasn't pretty. Yes, I strayed from the Pack, and strutted to the People's Republic of Chapel Hill this past Saturday, but I swear it was for a good cause.

Unfortunately, Nike and The Insiders picked the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to host the first Nike combine for the 2002 season, and to make sure the Pack was represented, the TSW Staff sucked it up and made the trip to Baby Blue Hell.

We met in Cary around 8:30 am Saturday morning. As we made the trek to the Hill, we actually, maybe subconsciously, missed the exit to UNC-CH. We drove on for about another 4 miles before realizing our "mistake." Once we found the correct exit, we began heading into the heart of the Abyss, and I don't mind saying that I did feel dirty as soon as we crossed the border into the PRCH. Sort of the same way you'd feel if you saw two 380 lb people "going at it." Yes, that type of dirty!

As we drove deeper and deeper into the Abyss, we entertained the second thoughts of turning around and forgetting the whole thing, but we couldn't. Our fans deserved to get first-hand information on our incoming recruits and targets.

We finally got to Kenan Stadium and went to check in. Well, we had no clue where we were going so we ended up walking through the tunnel and into the players area. We actually were in the UNC-CH football team's locker room! The whole time it never dawned on us to take the revealing photos of what is actually behind the closed doors, and it is scary, believe me!

As we headed for registration, we waltzed through the weight room and into Tarheel Hell. Everything was baby blue. The walls were bleeding sappy Carolina blue memories. The wood was cherry, a very interesting choice indeed. Banners of former players hung from the ceiling. One wall showed where all former UNC-CH players appeared in the NFL. We finally found the registration and got registered. Only six media passes were officially granted for this event, though other outlets did appear.

The skills tests and individual drills were held on the UNC-CH field hockey field. I will admit this, and will only do it once. Their facilities were actually very nice. Now that that's out of the way, we hob-knobbed with the likes of Scott Kennedy of BorderWars and several North Carolina high school football coaches, making contacts the whole time we were there.

There were several impressive players there, including State-bound Yomi Ojo, UNC-bound Mike Mason and undecided Terry Hunter, Damien Linson, Brad Roach, and Isaiah Gardner. We will be profiling these guys and several others in the near future.

After the combine closed, we were invited on a tour of Kenan stadium, including the facilities they use to recruit prospects. We were given a full tour of the locker room, the weight room, and the room I call "Ghost Theater" as it showed classic footage of Lawrence Taylor, Carl Torbush, and several others that I couldn't name for you even if I wanted to. After we left "Ghost Theater," we travelled to the 4th floor to have lunch with the coaches. We had already put our digital cameras away, so we regret that we aren't able to show you the exclusive footage of the Abyss. We ate lunch in the media room, where Bunting gives his post game interviews. We had an opportunity to get Jerry behind the UNC mike, as he was dressed in complete NCSU garb, but we didn't have the friggin' camera. Wasted opportunities occurred throughout that trip, and for that, I do apologize.

Fortunately, the nightmare only lasted 5 hours, so we were able to get out of there and return across the border into civilization without being re-programmed. Except for the combine and the great-looking women, it was a waste of time to even go there. Fortunately, we spent no money so we didn't support the PRCH.

I had to take three showers Saturday night just to get rid of that dirty feeling. Just thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach.

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