Okay, I just can’t help myself…

My University of North Carolina basketball team beat Clemson University yesterday. Not a big deal, since they are like 126 – 20 in the overall series. The humorous and interesting aspect of all this is that Clemson has NEVER — that is the same as “Not Once Ever” or ZERO — beaten UNC at Chapel Hill.

That makes it 56 wins in a row at Chapel Hill, a streak that covers 15 different United States Presidents. The only good thing about a Republican winning the Presidential Election in 2012 is that it would allow Carolina to extend that streak to SIXTEEN different presidents. (Nah, let’s keep this at 15 for the next 4 years…)

Okay, why is this a big deal? Well, let me go back into the personal history a little, since it might help explain this.

I came here to Greenville, SC back in 1975 to teach at Furman University (The Purple Paladins). But this area was overrun with Clemson Tiger Orange, be it hats and t-shorts, painted tiger paws on the streets and highways, the sports part of the evening news all focused on CLEMSON. (Even now, there is still some remnant of this though the University has not accomplished that much in football in recent years; salaries for the football coaching staffs are exorbitant and among the highest in the country…)

And it was really kind of embarrassing, really. Danny Ford was the Clemson football coach and you can watch for yourself how well he intellectually represented Clemson in these videos. (One is about his selection of chewing tobacco – “Danny Ford’s Chaw” at www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlbtxF1QDh8 and just his basic use of the English language (see www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5_QBWz9yRE for but one example).)

(Heck, y’all, the grocery store stock guy at The Nose in Pickens, SC, who quit school after 6th grade, speaks better English than Ford. And he is not representing a University of higher education…)

So, it was great that UNC would always beat Clemson at home. I mean always like a, “Before I was born and I am really old now,” kind of always.

Here are some factoids about the history (from http://blogs.fayobserver.com):

  • 1929 – Brooklyn’s George L. Pierce is granted the first patent for a basket ball. This is the same year the charging foul is introduced. At this point, Clemson had only played in Chapel Hill once, taking a 50-20 loss on Jan. 15 1926 to the Tar Heels, or White Phantoms as they were then called.
  • 1937 – The practice of having a jump ball after every made basket is abolished. The NCAA is still two years away from being formed. Clemson sits at 0-3 in Chapel Hill thanks to a 24-23 loss a year earlier.
  • 1944 – Goaltending is outlawed and unlimited substitutions are introduced. Also, it is determined that accruing five fouls results in a player fouling out. Clemson is 0-7 in Chapel Hill at this point after falling 52-32 in 1943. This starts a nine-year stretch in which the Tigers don’t even play at North Carolina. During this time, the NBA is formed.
  • 1967 – The dunk is banned. Clemson is still searching for its first win in 19 tries in Chapel Hill. (0-19)
  • 1976 – The dunk is legal again. Clemson’s losing streak at North Carolina now stands at 25 games. (0-25)
  • 1986 – The NCAA adopts a standard 3-point line, set at 19 feet, 9 inches. It doesn’t help Clemson in Chapel Hill as the Tigers are still winless in 32 tries.
  • 1992 – With stars like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, the Dream Team turns the 1992 Summer Olympics into a showcase for the game, expanding its worldwide reach. Closer to home, Clemson still can’t win in Chapel Hill, its losing streak standing at 38 games. (0-38)

It was nice to see that Brown finally won at Princeton in 2002 to end that streak at 52. So Carolina’s home win streak is now an all-time — and probably never to be “broked” (if I talked like Danny) — record of futility. (Is this another meaning for “homelessness?”)

I understand that Stephen Hawking is now starting to use this concept of ZERO as a anchor point for “nothingness” as it relates to the formation of The Universe. Even though it is referred to as, “The Streak,” that refers to the starting point as actually “being something” — but there is nothing there for Clemson at Chapel Hill in basketball…

Now, I still live in Greenville, SC and I do not every expect to see a lot of Tar Heel Blue on the downtown streets. There is an alumni association group here and one sees some blue hats and t-shirts on the street now and then.

Forever is not the same as Never. But in this case, they seem to mean the same thing.

“Zero and Forever” are equal to “Zero and Never.” Guessing Danny Ford will be proud of my math.

But The Streak sure is nice to think of every now and again. And, it sure has been fun. Will the fun never end?