Tar Heel Football – Why the sky is Carolina Blue by Scott Jones
(courtesy of keepingitheel.com)
September 6, 1980.
As is the case with many great undertakings, I had no idea on that day the many different impacts it would have on my future.
I was 12 years old on that day. Carolina was opening its football season against Furman. I wasn’t much into sports back then, and, believe it or not, only mildly into Carolina. Two years earlier, I had attended a Duke-Georgia Tech game with a church group, and I bought a Duke pennant. For several years, that pennant hung side-by-side on my bedroom wall with the Carolina pennant my Dad bought me at the Furman game.
However, another purchase that day changed my life. My grandfather bought me a game program.
My father and grandfather decided in 1980 to start taking me to all the UNC home games. My first UNC game was actually the 1978 Duke game, but 1980 was the year I started going to all the home games. Even though it was one of the few things I never asked for, my grandfather always bought me a program. And I kept them.
The notion of my keeping those programs may not seem so incredible until I point out that only one ticket stub remains from 1980 _ and it’s not even mine _ it’s my grandfather’s.
You see, back in 1980, I was just as often interested in visiting the concession stand as I was actually watching the game. That being the case, I often nagged all the way home until we stopped to cash in whatever offer Hardee’s had on the back of the ticket. Tickets for the 1980 season offered a free medium drink with the purchase of either a roast beef or hot ham n cheese sandwich. I don’t remember what so compelled me to give Hardee’s all those tickets, but, oh, how I wish I had them today.
The only stub I have from our season tickets in 1980 is from the Virginia game. I found that ticket among some of my grandfather’s belongings when he died. Needless to say, that stub is among the most cherished of the nearly 600 UNC tickets I now own.
Visiting the UNC games and reading the program year after year eventually got that Duke pennant off my wall. All those games and programs led to my attending UNC starting with the 1986 football season. Looking to refocus my mind while going through a divorce in 1999, I turned to my old programs and looked to turn them into a hobby that would take my mind to more pleasant times.
That hobby took hold. From that one program in 1980, my collection has now grown to 796 UNC game programs. That growth has seen a large portion of my modest teacher’s salary disappear on Ebay over the years. It has led me to search the Internet for hours on end searching for new sellers. Many a weekend has been spent traveling the antiques and collectibles, as well as sports collectibles, shops that most every town has. When the collection grows as large as mine has, searching becomes a constant.
Matt has kindly invited me to share stories of my collection with you, and I will be doing that. I will even share some of my basketball collection along the way.
By the way, UNC beat Furman 35-13 back in 1980. Amos Lawrence gained 119 yards on 16 carries and scored two touchdowns. Kelvin Bryant added 105 yards and three TDs on 17 carries.
And me? Well, I ate my very first Hardee’s roast beef sandwich on my way home that night.
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