MANY NORTHERN TRANSPLANTS SEEM CONFOUNDED by this Carolina/Carolina thing that surfaced as a result of a football game between the respective universities of North Carolina and South Carolina. (Please note, the word used here is respective, not respected, as only one of these institutions is.) It is a sibling rivalry.
In any such rivalry, it is important, very important, that the big brother (North Carolina) keep the little brother (South Carolina) in his place, really in his place. Just like my older brother needed (and still does need) to beat me in any competitive contest of any kind any time anywhere, North Carolina needs to whoop up on South Carolina on a regular basis.
Where an official and formal competitive venue does not exist, North Carolina gives South Carolina noogies just to keep them in their appointed place -- which is beneath North Carolina. Look at a map.
Northern transplants (Yankees we like to call them) should beware of jumping into this fray, even to help us Tar Heels. This is a family feud and we really don't need your assistance, thank you very much. A clear analogy would be me, my brother and Rocky Zimmerman. Now my oldest brother used to bop on me and my younger brother on a semi-regular basis (somewhat less so since he has turned 60 -- but it could still happen).
A favored technique of his was the frog. For those of you not versed in the puerile pugilistic arts, the frog is a punch delivered, usually to the upper arm, with a clenched fist made by extending the second knuckle of the middle finger outward to a point. When the pain subsides, the bruise remains to remind the lessers, such as me, who was the big brother, and who was not.
Rocky Zimmerman was, for a while, the mythic bully of our neighborhood. Once, for some reason I don't remember, he punched me in the stomach. I ran home crying.
My oldest brother was generally considered the neighborhood nerd. He was an egghead. He wore glasses.
A couple of days after my run-in with Rocky, in the midst of some collective neighborhood game, my oldest brother conveniently got into a dispute with him. He punched Rocky in the stomach. The myth of Rocky Zimmerman was undone in one moment, as he ran home crying. The neighborhood never feared him again. He never touched me again.
While North Carolina takes every occasion presented to it to deride South Carolina, it will still unleash a serious frogging on any outsider who has the temerity to pick on its poor, pathetic, podunk and knuckleheaded little brother. Historical case in point: the Civil War.
So, Yanks, just observe as I detail a few of the many reasons that North Carolina and UNC have for feeling a cut above South Carolina and USC.
North Carolina's state capital is named after the Englishman Sir Walter Raleigh (1552–1618), famed as a writer, poet, courtier and explorer, who established the first English settlement in the New World on Roanoke Island in present-day North Carolina. South Carolina's state capital is named after Chris Columbus (1451–1506) who discovered San Salvador Island.
For UNC, it is sufficient that USC (the piddling one in Columbia not the real one in LA) has the insolence to call itself "Carolina," even though UNC had been around for 13 years when USC got going. Get a clue, guys: first come, first served.
Further, any school which voluntarily selects a chicken as its mascot really should not expect too much respect from the rest of the world. Although a wider discussion of the inappropriateness of the school's choice of mascot will be by-passed in light of the various sensitivities of our readers, we will note that it celebrates the illegal, immoral and tasteless sport of chicken fighting. Gamecocks, indeed.
UNC's football coach, Butch Davis, is universally admired as a decent, caring and humble coach who builds character and lives as well as football teams. South Carolina's coach is Steve Spurrier. (And although the Evil Chickens of S.C. nipped the Tar Heels this time, Mr. Superior shouldn’t be looking back, as Satchel Paige might say, ‘cause someone might be gainin' on him.)
In the interest of mercy, we won't mention basketball.
A further point of favorable comparison of N.C. over S.C. (as if anyone who has ever set foot in both places would need any convincing): Have you ever tasted the concoction they call barbecue? Mustard-based sauce? May God help the sick people down there who are in want of some serious aesthetic re-education.
And, finally, there is a reason that South of the Border is south of the border.
Pedro says that Gary D. Gaddy has stopped at South of the Border just outside beautiful Dillon, South Carolina, more times than he would like to admit.
A version of this article was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Thursday October 18, 2007. Copyright 2007 Gary D. Gaddy