Monday, August 29, 2011

Remembering Why I Love Carolina Football

With all that's happened to Carolina football during the past year, it's sometimes easy to get sucked into the drama. Between academic scandals, NCAA investigations and the firing of our head coach, the last year has been anything but uneventful. I know many fans that stuck by the team during the investigations, but have threatened to skip games because Butch Davis was fired.

Trust me, I get it. As a loyal Carolina fan and a true supporter of Butch Davis, I was shocked and appalled at Thorp and the Board's decision (not to mention the timing of the decision) to fire our beloved head coach. It would be easy to stay at home on game day in protest. But I'm asking you, for the sake of the players who practice in 100 degree heat and love their school, to reconsider. We need to remember why we love Carolina football.

I love Carolina football because since I was a kid, it afforded me a whole Saturday with wonderful family and friends. While things like what dress I was going to wear and what dish I was going to bring to the tailgate didn't mean as much then, the time with my family and friends has always been precious.

I love Carolina football because it gave me, the girly girl, a chance to connect with my dad about a sport he played for so much of his life.

I love Carolina football because when we won the Peach Bowl, I was allowed to yell "Go Heels!" in the hallways of the hotel way past my bedtime without getting in trouble.

I love Carolina football because when my younger brother was born I automatically knew the first present I would give him was a Carolina football jersey.

I love Carolina football because of players like Matt Merletti, who took the time to befriend my 9 year old brother and teach him the true meaning of "the Carolina Way" through his kindness.

I love Carolina football because of moments like the Music City Bowl, when I cried with relief after an incredible win for a great group of guys after a trying year.

I love Carolina football because of all the times I've gotten to high five players and yell "We love you TJ!!" and see the genuine appreciation and excitement on their faces.

I love Carolina football for players like Deunta Williams and how his huge smile always brightened my day when he declared, "I'm Deunta Williams and I am a Tar Heel."

I love Carolina football because of the feeling I get when singing the alma mater in Kenan after a big win.

Carolina football means more than scandals, investigations or even our head coach. Carolina football is about the young men on the football team who give their all day in and day out for our school. Carolina football is about the memories we create with friends and family as we head to Chapel Hill each game day. I hope you all will pack Kenan on Saturday and show the boys that Carolina means more. Cheer as loud as you can, hug your family and friends and wear your best football dress. :) See you Saturday in Kenan!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fall Means Football

Okay, so of course it's not really fall here yet. But we have reduced our daily average temp to double digits instead of triple.

I love summer. Adore it. I love the (slight) tan my pale skin gets, I love long lake weekends, I love a hot car (I'm weird, I know), I love how laid back everything is.

But I'm in love with Carolina. And Carolina football makes my heart so happy. The fact that  I will be in Kenan Stadium in my football dress in exactly eight days sends my heart aflutter. Seriously y'all, I'm on a diet/workout regimen right now so I will look good in my football dress and can indulge at our tailgates (oh and boy do I indulge..).

College football is magical. You would think I'd be jaded after all of our NCAA issues of late, but I'm not. I know that most of those guys are good kids who love the game. And even the ones that made mistakes - I think if they were at any other school in the country they would have left for the NFL. But they loved Carolina so much, they stayed, and in turn made some mistakes. I don't love it, but I can forgive them for that.

"Meet the Heels Day" (aka the day last year when this little gem was taken and ended up in the Durham newspaper) was scheduled for tomorrow but silly Hurricane Irene has ruined the day and UNC has cancelled the event.

Just think Bryn, we could've taken a picture together and you could've ended up in the paper, too. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

No Big Deal, Just An Earthquake

Y'all, not 45 minutes ago I was sitting here at my desk finishing up a couple of press releases on college football (yeah, my job is ridiculously awesome) when I hear a shaking noise above my head. Now this is not entirely rare - for some reason people like to walk on the roof above my head (I'm on the second floor in a two story building), so I didn't think much of it.

Well it got louder and shakier and all I could think was 'Goodness, gracious man on the roof! Some of us are trying to do work." But then I noticed my desk was shaking. And the floor was shaking. And then our building was being evacuated.

Either the man on the roof was 500 lbs and training for a marathon.... or we were having an earthquake. I honestly thought it was probably the former - I've never heard of an earthquake in North Carolina, but then I glanced down at my Twitter feed (love you Twitter) as I was walking out of my office. People from Raleigh to NYC were tweeting "Are we having an earthquake?"

And an earthquake we did have indeed - a 5.9 on the Richter Scale in Mineral, Va. We didn't feel the full 5.9 here, but wow, still one of the strangest things I've ever felt.

Thorp Chose Davis

There has been a huge event that I haven't talked about on here for the simple fact that I'm in denial.

Butch Davis was fired.

Holden Thorp cited no new evidence, but simply said the whole investigation was causing too much damage to our reputation as an academic institution. Someone had to go down for it and as head of the football program, Thorp chose Davis. 

Thorp chose Davis when two days earlier, UNC confirmed its support of Davis as he met with the media to kickoff the season. Thorp chose Davis because of the damage the academic investigation has caused to UNC as an academic institution when Thorp is the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Thorp chose Davis a week before football practice began and took away a coach that had given us more success in the past three years than we'd had in a decade. Thorp chose Davis a year after the investigation began and took away a father figure to almost 100 young, impressionable men. Thorp chose Davis because he thought any action, even a stupid action, was better than no action and took away the football coach that made me love the game more than the tailgates.

Thorp chose Davis because he's too proud to do what he should have done and chosen himself.

Fantasy Football Draft

While I consider myself a well-rounded girl, there are some things I simply am not. I'm not very athletic. I'm not a seafood lover. I'm not a short hair gal. I'm not a pro sports fan...

Or am I?

While my heart lies (and I feel will always lie) with college sports (Carolina football kicks off in t minus 11 days - be still my heart), pro football may be sneaking its way in my life. And as usual, we can thank TJ for this.

Y'all obviously know about my like love for T.J. Yates. I've said it once a million times and I'll say it again - T.J. Yates made me the college football fan that I am today. And now he's making me an NFL fan... sort of.

My allegiance is, of course, with college football and the most beautiful university in the country, BUT since T.J. is now in the NFL, I have the desire to follow pro sports. Enter "Yaters Gonna Yate."

Yaters Gonna Yate is the  name of the fantasy football team my dad and I drafted last night. The draft was incredibly fun/stressful! It went much faster than I thought and since I don't know a ton of NFL players, many decisions were made based upon "Oh, he's cute" or "Look at his smile! Let's draft him."

Well, the plan was to draft T.J. with the last pick in the draft (the other teams aren't exactly fighting over him), but somehow we miscounted and only had one pick left when we thought we had two!! We had to get a kicker because we hadn't gotten one yet, so this morning, as soon as we were allowed to add/drop players, I made this little change. 

Pending Add/Drops
Date & Time
Add Player
Current Player
08/23/11 08:56 am ET
Yaters Gonna Yate
Yates, T.J QB HOU
Will be processed Wednesday morning (8/24)

Thank goodness. I don't think you understand the level of stress I had at our miscalculation last night.

So here is our team (substitute TJ for Crabtree). 

layerOpp.WeatherByeAvgProjOwn %Start %Status
Manning, Peyton QB IND @HOUDome
Sun 1:00pm
Green-Ellis, BenJarvus RB NE @MIADome
Mon 7:00pm
Rice, Ray RB BAL PIT
Sun 1:00pm
Harvin, Percy WR MIN @SDDome
Sun 4:15pm
Nicks, Hakeem WR NYG@WAS
Sun 4:15pm
Rice, Sidney WR SEA @SF
Sun 4:15pm
Olsen, Greg TE CAR @ARI
Sun 4:15pm
Barth, Connor K TBDET
Sun 1:00pm
Giants DST @WAS
Sun 4:15pm
Addai, Joseph RB IND@HOUDome
Sun 1:00pm
Spiller, C.J. RB BUF @KC
Sun 1:00pm
Amendola, Danny WR STLPHI
Sun 1:00pm
Crabtree, Michael WR SF SEA
Sun 4:15pm
Gonzalez, Tony TE ATL@CHI
Sun 1:00pm

What do y'all think? I'd love to hear the opinion of someone who actually watches NFL games for more reason than a 3rd string quarterback crush.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

California Loveee

Warning: This might be the most picture-filled post to date.

Sorry it's been a few days - I was off drinking wine in Napa, shopping in San Fran and turning 25 in the airport. No big deal!

Kidddddddding! It was the most amazing trip ever! Lauren and I got up bright and early for our 8 a.m. flight. We may or may not have started out our trip like this.

Airport Mimosas
A few hours, and two crazy plane rides full of characters later, we arrived in San Francisco. Our friend Justin picked us up and we immediately headed to Napa Valley to start sipping! We spent Friday afternoon, all day Saturday and most of the day Sunday indulging in wine tastings, buying bottles and wine and cheese for lunch and contemplating our move from Raleigh to Northern California. Some of my absolute favorite wineries included Franciscan, Sterling (complete with gondola ride), Castello di Amoroso, Chateau St. Jean, Mondavi, Sequoia Grove and Kenwood (champy!), but it's hard to narrow it down. They were all insanely beautiful with delicious wines. I learned so much and am looking forward to utilizing my knowledge at wine stores here! Here are a few of the sites from wine country (excuse the poor quality, these are phone pictures! I'll add more once I upload them from my camera)

Oak barrels used to store and age the wine.

Beautiful wine country.

Church in Castello di Amoroso

After several days of 100+ heat at home, this looks pretty nice!

Enjoying a bottle and snacks in gorgeous Sonoma

Castello di Amoroso
Sunday afternoon we headed to San Francisco. We spent most of our time there walking around and being huge tourists. I had to wear a sweater the whole time - it was in the 50s! We only had about a little over a day to enjoy San Francisco, so we took advantage of Fisherman's Wharf and Union Square near our hotel. Here are a few pictures from our time in San Francisco.
Sea lions at Pier 39. I wanted to bring one home!

One of the weirdest/coolest/proudest moments of the trip. We stopped in this random bar during Happy Hour and I immediately saw a He's Not bumper sticker. It turned out to be the official Alumni bar in San Fran. I proceeded to get really emotional and tell the Irish bartender (who'd never been to NC) all about beautiful Chapel Hill and the greatest school in the universe. (And of course, slipped in a Shammond and TJ reference!)

San Fran is a little different. We're friendly here in the South, but apparently in San Fran people think  you are automatic best friends. Later, this lovely fellow got kicked out of the restaurant and taunted everyone from the street window.

We had so much fun walking around Pier 39!
We left bright and early Tuesday morning (my birthday!) for the return trip. It was bittersweet - I absolutely adored California (especially wine country), but did miss the comforts and people of home. Most of my wonderful friends and family gave me money for my birthday to help fund the West Coast vacay (goodness gracious, California, you make Raleigh look like the dollar store), but there were a few surprises when I got home!

A Bailey Box from my too generous and amazing friends at Bailey's

The biggest surprise of them all: an Ippolita ring (now dubbed my official football ring) that I've been wanting since early in the year. Thanks Mom. :) Isn't it gorgeous?