This is the first of a week-long series of posts sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.
I've got to say, the story of how I became a Carolina fan is among the shortest and dullest on record. Here it is:
I was born.
There you go. From the moment my name was put to paper by the folks at Rex Hospital, I was a Carolina fan. Hence the blue hat, after all. Both my mother and my father were UNC grads, as were two uncles. Multiple family members have worked for Carolina. I've got relatives buried on Franklin Street. I didn't need to be won over, I am genetically coded to be a Tar Heel. I've cheered in Carmichael, sweated in Wollen and have a piece of turf from the Kenan end zone packed away in my closet. I traced the Rameses logo on scratch paper and kept track of the score of UNC games with the magnetic numbers toddlers had. There was just no other way this was going to go down.
I can recall my first game at Kenan Stadium, though. Not much beyond the fact that it was a crisp fall day and the opponent was Bowling Green. UNC won 33 to 14, but I'd wager we left by the end of the third quarter – there's only so much a six-year old can take, after all – and that the prospect of blue cup of Coke was half the thrill. I was still hooked, though. I remember being able to walk around the track surrounding the field, to short to see over the hedges; the walk over stone walls from wherever we parked to the visitor's side of the stadium; the smell from beneath the West End Zone and the other kids all dressed up in Carolina Blue. There was just nowhere else I wanted to be.
(My next UNC memory, alas, was of one of my father's friends advocating for a third down punt. The end of the Dick Crum era and the start of the Mack Brown one was a rough time to grow up a Carolina fan.)