Move Over, Choo Choo!
Outlined against a blue-gray October sky…” is the opening to Grantland Rice’s epic column on October 18, 1924 introducing Notre Dame’s Four Horsemen. If Grantland had been with me in The Choo Choo Lounge Saturday I think he would say “BobLee, you can borrow it just this once.”
Many “rests of the story” that you don’t know, but you will learn in the next 10 minutes.
Upon Heaven’s gridiron graze a special breed of stallions. As swift afoot as Mercury. As strong as Hercules. As brave as the bravest heroes of history, myth and lore who ever faced Defeat square in the eye….. and Defeat blinked.
Their names are as colorful as their deeds are heroic. Red Grange – The Gallopin’ Ghost….. Doak Walker….. Charlie Trippi….. “Bullet Bill” Dudley….. Herschel….. OJ….. Bo….. #23 From Garden City…. Mr Inside & Mr Outside….. and Carolina’s own #22 Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice. At around 4:10 PM EDT on Saturday last, a quick vote was held among these vaunted stallions. Choo Choo was chosen to deliver the news…..
#26 Giovanni Bernard, step upon the pedestal. Young fella you have earned your place in the pantheon of heroes.
Who know what the future holds for “Gio”. Like all great stallions – Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Whirlaway, Gallant Man, Seabiscuit, and Gio — evevery run could be their last. Their longevity is at the mercy of the gods who control the destiny of such marvelous creations. But for certain. . . . Saturday, October 27, 2012 and Gio Bernard are forever etched in the annals of Carolina sports lore.
Does this rise to the level of Walter Davis and “8 down with 17 seconds to play” in 1974? YES! No doubt about it. Move over Walter. Move over Choo Choo. Make room for Gio.
547,000 Carolina fans (at least) filled Kenan Stadium under that “blue-gray October sky”. They will all have ticket stubs to prove it too!
Did a single son or daughter of The Old Well leave early?
Was a single dissenting sound “harked”?
Every True Blue knew: “So long as there’s a second on the clock and we have Gio….. there’s hope springing eternal within every Tar Heel breast.”
Maybe I’m getting a tad too high on happy. A dawber or two had indeed gotten down. One or two had prior engagements around 3:30.
My Good Sports co-host Br’er Chansky and I strolled into Kenan around 12:10 wondering what unis the Fedorians would sport. I bet it would be good guys in “all white with those awesome white helmet” and bad guys all in “blood-red”. Who knew the true horror that the Boss Fedorian had planned.
I watch each home game from Choo Choo’s Lounge on the South Concourse. As the Fedorians came out of the tunnel I figured the color thingamajig on the HDTV had gone on the fritz.
“Ohhhh Noooo, Larry, what the heel you gone and done? This ain’t freakin’ Hattiesburg you hyped-up galoot.” That is actually pretty much what I screamed at the screen.
I tried to figure out what the deal was with the goofy chrome helmets with the blue-foot. I am an old-school traditionalist. I almost texted Bubba. “The Real AD” must have sensed my anxiety.
The game starts. Fedorians go nutzo outta the gate. Going be a blow-out! I’m thinking “Awwww crap. Now these goofy helmets will be a permanent good luck charm”. I’m conflicted.
Wuffs roar back…. roar…. roar. LARRY, CHANGE THE HELMETS BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! End of the first quarter and Bubba The Real AD comes in to see me. Bubba is grinning like a Cheshire cat.
“You don’t like the helmets. I bet.”
“YA THINK” I replied.
Bubba explained the whole story behind the goofy cartoonish helmets. My blood pressure descended to a normal range. It was a screwy deal with Learfield.
Second quarter becomes a Friday The 13th movie with Tar Heels as the nubile teenagers at Crystal Lake. The Wuffs wore hockey masks and carried machetes. Nubile teenagers are not very good at pressuring QBs named Mike.
The Band of Brothers poured into the CC Lounge at halftime. Yes, some discouraging sounds were being harked by six decades of former FB Lettermen.
I quickly rounded up some former D-linemen Battle Wall, Mike Horvat, Brent Milgrom Little Ricky Packard and even Ev Cowan (who was an Off Guard but I was desperate). I arranged for them to replace the current D-line for the 2nd Half. Now you know!
The Fabulous Comparato Twins were on-hand and gave my Old New D-Line a peppy “go get’em” speech. Whatever they told’em worked, huh?
The rest is a historical anomaly that will live forever in one form or another in the cul-de-sacs and around water coolers within 100 miles of The Old Well. It was a humdinger of a football game that Carolina won.
Larry Fedora has NEVER lost to TO’B and at this rate he never will.
Were you watching, Butch?
Enjoy more BobLee at www.bobleesays.com including an unabridged version of the above.