Thursday, February 1, 2007

Carolina Rule


Patrick Kendall

First of all, I have to admit up front that I didn’t watch the entire game last night and here is why: blow outs are boring.

This, I believe, is the curse that will fall upon the ‘Heels as they continue to build momentum and dominate conference teams the way Twinkies dominate a fat man’s food obsession.

I mean, who cares about the second half of a blowout if it’s just more of the same from the first half, only the other team is more tired and beat down? And it’s not Carolina’s “fault” per se, but maybe they could toy with teams a little more, then run them out in the final 37 seconds. Then at least their could be some “pretend” tension.

My college roommate and I used to go the courts and find people who looked like decent players and challenge them. We would try to figure out their strengths, then dominate their weaknesses. Sometimes we would only shoot from the three point line; or we could only drive to our lefts (I promise we are both right-handed); or my roommate could only go in for a layup and score if he could dunk it (he was a pretty good jumper for a six foot white boy – I, on the other hand, jumped…lower).

The point is we played like arrogant jerks and it infuriated the other guys we played against but it DID make them play harder (not better, but harder). So, if Carolina adopted a little more of that kind of personality it might be more entertaining for fans and viewers in the latter parts of the game. Granted they will be hated and reviled for this kind of behavior but so what? They are the most talented team in the country (no apologies to Mr. Noway down in FLA), what do they care what people think of them?

The only cog in my design comes in the form of their coach, Mr. Roy Boy Williams. I suspect that he is some kind of “gentleman” of the sport, who doesn’t want to engage in this kind of behavior but I think he’s being short-sighted. This isn’t just about winning. It’s about putting out a product that people will enjoy.

You all remember “New” Coke, right? Well, this is the same principle (stay with me as I really sttrrreetttccchhh for this analogy…), but if Coke had continued to make a product that nobody cared about, wouldn’t the business world at large have considered that to be a “wrong” move? I think so. So why wouldn’t it hold true for Carolina Basketball? They are in the business of producing basketball for their fans and if the fans are bored with the product then Carolina Basketball should necessarily change it.

I should also point out that the fan I’m speaking about is the TV viewing fan at home and not the rabid UNC fans who frequent websites and boisterously reply to blogs and editorials. And my suggestion is simply made from the perspective of “entertainment.” No matter who you are, a rout is a bore. Advertisers hate them; commentators hate them; and the losing coach certainly hates them. It’s just a bad business all around. The only people who really like them are the scrubs on the winning team who finally get to show their faces during game time (for the scrubs on the losing team, it’s just embarrassing so it’s really bad for them as well).

So, I suggest that we petition the ACC to adopt a new “no routing” rule that plainly states a team must compete “less hard” when up by more than fifteen points so that the lead never builds over nineteen. The rule should also require the leading team to allow for a final frenetic “come back” to within one basket (a free throw, two-pointer, OR three-pointer) that creates a false sense of hope (ergo, increased tension and drama), before the winning team can reassert its dominance.

With respect to the dominant team of the moment (UNC) we could call the Carolina Rule (see how accommodating I am even as a Blue Heel? You won’t find that everywhere, believe you me).

In conclusion let me wrap this up by simply stating this is an attempt on my part to find new ways to market dominance and fight boredom at the same time. My belief is that rivalries are almost always more enjoyable when both teams are involved and my fear is that UNC is forgetting that. They seem content to decimate the opposition with little or no regard for the traditions and history of the rivalry.

Fact is, they’re being selfish and I don’t think we should have to stand for it. They need to be stopped and if the other teams in the conference aren’t able to do it, then they need to do it to themselves.

Carolina Rule rules!

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