More than a Game: Why North Carolina Basketball Means So Much to So Many.""> More than a Game: Why North Carolina Basketball Means So Much to So Many."">

New Excerpt from "More Than a Game"

Thad Williamson has provided <i>Inside Carolina</i> with yet another exclusive excerpt from his new book: "<b>More than a Game: Why North Carolina Basketball Means So Much to So Many</b>."

Don't miss the chance to meet Thad at his book signing this Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Blue Heaven Museum! The book can be purchased online. See below for order by check info and list of local stores.


This is an excerpt from Chapter Five, "The Fan Diaries Project." This chapter traces the experiences and observations of 15 North Carolina fans during the 2000-2001 season.

January 6, 2001. Chapel Hill
North Carolina 70, Wake Forest 69

Brendan Haywood scored a lay-up with four seconds remaining to give North Carolina the win.

[Rocky Mount resident] Dave Jarvis watched the game on TV with his wife. He commented happily that Curry "might be O-for-forever, but put the game on the line and he'll take the shot--and probably make it."

[Charlotte resident] Jennifer Jordan Engel attended the game at the Dean Dome with her husband and mother; at the end of the game she felt "elated, giddy, and ten years younger." Jennifer had the flu and napped most of the following day, but said her mood was "at a 7 [on a 1 to 7 scale] anyway, just because I was still excited about the win and being there for it."

[Charleston, SC resident] Danny Mullis and [his son] Kenan watched the game at home on TV. He reported that "I was so charged up by the victory that I immediately adjourned to the computer room to listen to the post-game show with Woody and Mick. Surprisingly, Kenan joined me, in a show of Tar Heel solidarity that was moving. Yes, he's coming along just fine. In several years, he'll be tearing up at `Hark the Sound.'" Danny noted that on the Monday after the game, "As I was driving back to the office, I saw a friend whom I know to be a Wake alum walking on the sidewalk. I put down the window and yelled, `Go Wake Forest' to him. Once he saw who it was, a sheepish grin came over his face. Not five minutes later, I arrived in my office to find the voice mail message light illuminated. My payback message for this sidewalk assault! It was grand."

[UNC Student] Trip Cogburn attended the game with his girlfriend. He had a little hassle securing the tickets, which were obtained from his sister and a friend of hers. He said, "I felt like I was going to vomit for most of the game. My hands were like leaky faucets. There were a couple times my stomach tried to make its way up my esophagus during intense moments and I thought this just may be the time I need medical attention during a gamed." He reported being "thrilled" at the end of the game, but too exhausted to partake in Franklin Street partying.

[Chatham County resident] Jeffrey Stephens attended the game with his brother-in-law, and used the word "euphoric" to describe his feelings. The day after the game, he woke up and "immediately listened to a tape of the radio postgame. I stayed in a good mood all day and, yes, I attribute much of it to the afterglow effect of the huge win last night." Jeffrey was also pleased by Haywood's big game, writing, "Maybe his many detractors will desist for a while...Some fans are quite irrational and mean-spirited (e.g. `Haywood sucks') and, in my opinion, seem to hold, for whatever reason, views of players that are not based in reality. Brendan is the current favorite target of fans such as these. I cannot relate and find it difficult to understand that mentality."

[California resident] Julio Rojas watched the game with his two sons, and said, "our house was intense the whole game. When Brendan H. put in the rebound, it felt so good. Beating a team that is probably a bit better than you right now is a great feeling."

[Chapel Hill resident] Susan Worley went to the game with her oldest daughter. She said she felt "ecstatic" during the game. "I felt that, whatever the outcome, the Heels were playing intense, Tar Heel basketball and the crowd was into it." After the game, she "stayed up until 2:00 am, because I was too excited to sleep." She woke up just four hours later, excited to read the papers about the game. One of her big memories of the game revolved around Brendan Haywood. "I HATE it when fans are really critical of one of our players, especially considering that they are all kids and amateurs...How satisfying for him to have played so well, how perfect that he got the game-winning basket, and how I hope he will play this way against Maryland."

[Greenville resident] Vicki Murray watched the game at home alone. She reported feeling "On cloud nine, way up on cloud nine" after the game. She said she was "very happy for Coach Doherty and the Heels. A very nice start for the new regime and at least for a few weeks the fans won't be questioning his hiring....I will watch this tape a couple of times between now and Wednesday. (Confession: I've already watched the end a half dozen times. I love those students storming the floor.")

January 10, 2001. College Park, MD
North Carolina 86, Maryland 83

Dave Jarvis watched the game on TV with his wife. He said he was "amazed" by Carolina's performance. "The game looked more like the `old' Carolina teams than I've seen in a long time. This was an execution, not a game."

Jennifer Jordan Engel watched the game at home with her husband. She reported being "jubliant" after the game, and that her excellent mood carried over into the next day.

Danny Mullis watched the game alone while Kenan met with a study group. His wife stepped in and out during the second half. He noted, "This game was the first time this season I noticed actual physical responses to the game. I was fidgety, my pulse rate was up, my stomach ached. At game's conclusion, I was tired from the nervous energy."

[UNC Student] K. Mac Heffner was in a journalism class at UNC that met on Wednesday nights, but he managed to listen to the game on the radio. "I had to be sneaky with my headphones, I hid them nicely in my shirt and tried to pay attention."

[New York City resident] Chris Gabriele watched the game on TV alone. He said, "This was a huge win, one that has me convinced."

Vicki Murray watched the game at home by herself. She felt "a little euphoric," after the game, "a little stunned and still wondering a little if this team is as good as they look." She added, "I went out to eat with my husband and when we got back in the car, it was nearly halftime and I think we were down 4. We stopped at the coffee shop for a cup of coffee, and when we got back in the car, I think we were up around 12-14 points and Mick and Woody were a little apoplectic. We finally get back to the house, and I turn on the TV and lo and behold Maryland starts catching up. I'm thinking, hmm, should I cut off the TV and leave? Well, both the Heels and I gutted it out, them by playing stand-up and hold ‘em off and me by pacing in front of the TV and going outside with the headphones on."

[Fayetteville resident] Steve Andrews watched the game at home, and said he felt "exhilarated" during the contest.

[Pennsylvania resident] Roy Keefer watched the game and was pleased with the team's play and Ronald Curry in particular. "That was as much intensity as I have seen Carolina play with in the last 10 years or so. At least since George Lynch was on the floor."

Susan Worley watched the game with her oldest daughter and her husband ("who for once was actually awake during the game–7:00 tip-offs are great for middle-aged folks"). Susan left unfinished some important business at work to get home in time for the start, and was thrilled with the outcome. She said "My happiness [at the early ACC success] goes much deeper than the wins though--there is something intangible and beyond my powers of description called Tar Heel basketball. I can't put it into words, but I know it when I see it...Tonight's game, along with the Wake game, convinced me that Tar Heel basketball is definitely back."

Jeffrey Stephens watched the game with his wife at another couple's house. "The high point was when our second-half run topped out with our team up 19 points and a little over 8 minutes to go. We were so caught up in the action that a double take was required for it to sink in that we were indeed up 19 points on Maryland in their gym." He reported listening to Adam Gold's radio talk show the following day when a "Carolina `fan' called in blaming the refs for the Maryland run that got them back into the game and then proceeded to bash Haywood for only scoring 8 points. I was sitting here thinking `My God, can a person like this ever be happy with a huge win like this, or do they watch these games only to be irritated, angry and bothered?'...This is a rhetorical question, I know, but I will never understand or relate to their mode of thinking."


You can order the book online or send a check payable to "Dollars and Sense" to Economic Affairs Bureau, Inc., 740 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02138, for $18 per copy, plus $4 S/H for first book, $1.25 additional copies; or call 617-876-2434. Also available in the Chapel Hill area at UNC Student Stores, Carolina Pride, Johnny T-Shirt, the Blue Heaven Basketball Museum, and McIntyre's Fine Books.

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