Fourth and Long

Published 5:11 pm Friday, January 21, 2011

Here are just a few of my random thoughts and things I think I think about sports today.

My wife and I met with Thadd (a sports editor here from time to time) and his better half in Chapel Hill Monday night to see Bertie native Jessica Breland and her Tar Heel teammates take on the University of Connecticut.

UConn and North Carolina play very different styles of basketball and while the Tar Heels kept it close for awhile, UConn eventually pulled away.

Jessica didn’t her best night, but still it was nice to see her battling it out with Maya Moore, the 2009 National Player of the Year.

Breland has been phenomenal this season and has become the undeniable leader on her team. If you haven’t already, I suggest you tune in to one of her games. Better yet… make the drive to Chapel Hill and cheer her on in person. It’s a good time.

Speaking of the game, we had some younger UConn fans behind us that seemed to have some issues with the way that my wife and I watch sports. This isn’t the first time I have encountered this and it always seems to go the exact same way.

First I arrive in my seat at LEAST an hour before tipoff/kickoff. I sit down, nod or chat to the other true fans that begin cheering on their team in warm-ups and anticipate a great game. The stands will eventually fill around me and somebody will sing the national anthem.

After the national anthem and until I get back to my car after the game I may or may not sit down. This is apparently where the problem begins because while everything was fine up until this point, the people behind me are about to get angry and talk at me.

Notice I didn’t say talk to me but at me. Nobody actually talks to you; they just cough a lot, loudly say “AHEM” and begin ranting about how rude SOME people are. It’s about that time that I have to turn around and break their heart.

I’ll tell you like I tell them. I have no intention of watching this game from the comfort of my seat. I hardly sit when I cheer on my team from home, I’m certainly not going to sit down after spending my money to cheer them on in person.

I am a real fan. I cheer on my teams with passion. I yell, I scream, I sing and I dance. I believe that I can scream and stomp so loudly that I can change the outcome of a play and on the greatest of occasions, the game. I have done it… seriously.

If you’re a fan that doesn’t want to stand up and cheer as well then you may have some difficulty watching the game. For that I am genuinely sorry, not sorry enough to sit down but still…. sorry.

There is a lesson to be learned in all of this. Real fans cheer all day. Fervor or furor… I’m gonna stand and be loud. If you can’t see then maybe you should too. Just sayin.

I can’t go this week without speaking about the most impressive active record in all of college basketball. Clemson has still never won a game in Chapel Hill. Given Clemson’s history of allowing coaches like Oliver Purnell to get away, don’t be surprised if Clemson continues to go winless in Chapel Hill for a long time.

David Friedman is a long-time contributor to the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald. A Bertie High School graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at