I was determined to channel Charlie Dickens for my UNC v. Wake retrospective even before Larry Fedora being undefeated on Tobacco Road was snuffed out like a half-smoked Camel.  Take your pick – Modest Expectations …. or A Tale of Two Programs.
On The Good Sports pre-game show, I had The Fightin’ Fedorians headed to Louisville next week at 2-0.   That was based on Carolina royally thumping essentially the same bunch o’ Deacons last year in Kenan.   I figured it would be a 10 points or less W for the Sons Of Choo Choo because nobody routs a Jim Grobe team….. except an Everett Whithers’ team last year.  I was wrong.
I also predicted a Duke W in Palo Alto.  Ouch!  Wonder who Johnny Dawkins was pulling for in that one?  Speaking of Johnny Dawkins….. what’s your favorite Lance Thomas joke…. so far?
It’s September 2012 and the only Athletics Dept in the Triangle NOT being fitted for an orange jumpsuit and prison tatt is NC freakin’ State!!  I’m sure that is in Revelations as a sure sign of the Apocalypse.  I digress.
Sports rivalries don’t inspire intense negative emotions in me.  I reserve my teeth gnashing for rude sales clerks, guvmint bureaucrats and power surges.  I really hate power surges.  I don’t hate Demon Deacons.
If Fate had not led me to Chapel Hill I woulda been a Deacon.  I grew up Southern Baptist and was never much of a dancer anyway.  I thought Bones McKinney was an interesting old coot.  A small private school in a city with a hyphen….. versus ChooChooville.  …. “Two schools diverged and I took ….. made all the difference.”
If Wake Forest were still in Wake Forest, it would be different, but by the time a Triangle-based Tar Heel parries and thrusts with Wuffs and the Jersey Boys of West Derm there isn’t enough left in the rivalry tank to slug it out with anyone else.
I have some longtime friends who went to Wake and they are pretty hard-core ABCers (Anybody But Carolina).   …… But I can’t fight Navajos when I have Commanches and Apaches on my doorstep.
That last line was awesome if I do say so myself.  I am saying so.
So to Chuck Dickens’…… Modest Expectations.  My observations of Deacons is that they sincerely appreciate any success they achieve for what it is – A Success.  No one ever called Wake Forest – “A Sleeping Giant”.  No one ever admonished Jim Grobe “Don’t let us down, Coach” as an idiot Heel fan said to Ol’ Roy before he won his first ring in ’05.  Ron Wellman cannot imagine a day in the life of Lee Fowler circa 2009.
I bet post pubescent Deacons and Deaconettes “TP’ed” their Quad last night.  Bless their hearts.  Yesterday was certainly not their “greatest win ever” but a W is a W is a….. 
“Beating Larry Fedora” hardly has the cache (yet) of beating Ol’ Roy or Coach K.  It DOES have more cache than “beating Jeff Bzdelik”.   Ouch.
Larry’s Legions are many a quick snap away from being the juggernaut that is the dream eternal along beautiful Franklin Street.  But little Wake Forest did torpedo “the haughty Flagship” albeit Wake is not a member of the UNC System navy of which UNC is the mythical flagship.
In cul-de-sacs and around water coolers from Murphy to Manteo there is no such animal as an ABWFer.   Imagine being a polite little school that nobody is taught from birth to hate.  …. Go ahead – Imagine. 
Wake will likely win 6-8 games this year depending upon how many they rack up before their annual rash of injuries has 220 lb walk-ons on their offensive line yelling “LOOK OUT TANNER” to a besieged QB Price.  That’s the next 60 days.  Today Ron Wellman gets lots of happy e-mails.
I’ve always admired Ron Wellman.  One of the many reasons I really like Bubba Cunningham is that he reminds me of Ron Wellman.  That’s a compliment to both Directors. 
My Wake Forest friends still have frozen grins on their faces from winning the ACC in 2006 and going to the Orange Bowl.  That’s six years ago and they LOST that game.  
My fellow UNCers enjoy a Basketball National Championship for ten minutes then start worrying about who’s turning pro and how’s recruiting going.
As Mr. Dickens might say – being a sports fan is “The Best of Times and The Worst of Times.”  Seeking self-worth from an aluminum bleacher on Fall Saturdays is a fool’s quest.
PS:  Maybe I shoulda channeled Charles Schultz’ Peanuts.  “There is no heavier burden than a great potential.”  ….. Do you really wonder why Jim Grobe turns down mega-bucks from “big time” programs.