The Story Behind the Item
While I became a Carolina fan somewhere around the first grade, I did so despite growing up in a Wolfpack household. I'm not proud to admit that for a period of time I slept in an oversized "Cardiac Pack" t-shirt. Keep in mind I was not alive in 1983 when the Cardiac Pack brought home the title, but somehow I still had a shirt celebrating their existence.
Luckily, I had several Tar Heel influences in my life at an early age. Mrs. Riley, my first and second grade teacher, used to write "Go Heels" on all of the work she graded and sent home to my parents. Similar story with my third grade teacher, Mrs. Martin. We also had a family that our family was friends with who were big Carolina fans. (I went with the lengthy "a family that our family was friends with" in that sentence because "a family friend" doesn't seem right, as it indicates a singular individual that our whole family knew. But is there another option? "A families friend?" "A family of friends?" "A family's friend(s)?" All of these are clearly wrong. Just read it in the way that makes the most sense to you.)
The point is, multiple people in our family were friends with multiple people in their family. My mom did a lot of volunteering at the schools with the mother in this family. My brother was in the same class as the youngest daughter of their family. Senior year, I went to prom with the oldest daughter. Well, her prom. We went to different high schools. Funny story, actually. Senior year I went to three proms. Back to back to back weekends. And I don't even like dancing. Or music. Or people.
Prom number one came to fruition because the oldest daughter of the family's friend(s) - I'm going to roll with that one - broke up with her boyfriend just a few weeks before the prom, so everyone at her school already had a date. Since I went to a different school, she asked me if I'd go with her and, being the nice guy that everyone who knows me will certainly attest to me being, I said sure.
Somewhere around that same time frame, a youth leader at our church asked me if I'd go to a prom a county away from me with his little sister. I honestly have no recollection as to why she didn't have a date from her own school, or how I wound up being selected given that I'd only met her once or twice before. But I was, and I said sure. Why? See nice guy comment in previous paragraph. Her prom was the week after the prom of FFD ("family friend daughter").
Of course, I had to go to my own senior prom with my entire group of close friends from high school, and it just so happened to be the week after the prom of CYLS ("church youth leader's sister").
There are a few benefits of going to proms on three consecutive weekends, even if you hate proms. One, if you happen to forget the corsage and have to have your parents bring it to the girl's house, you learn that lesson the first time and the next two weeks you don't make that mistake again. And two, it actually becomes more cost effective to buy a tux as opposed to renting, meaning that you own a tux for the rest of your life. Which would be beneficial if you (a) ever needed to wear a tux again after your senior prom and (b) you didn't gain 25 pounds after graduating high school. Mark me down for both A and B, so buying the tux wasn't quite the advantage it seemed to be at the time.
To circle back to where this story was headed before the prom tangent, the parents in the family that my family was friend's with were Ram's Club members, and prior to the 1997 football season, they attended a Ram's Club event featuring Mack Brown. I'm sure partly to please me and mostly to annoy my parents, they returned from said Ram's Club function with a poster signed by the Mack Daddy himself.
Carolina Collectibles Description
The 1997 Carolina Football poster measured 23" x 17" and featured Mack Brown sitting beside several trophies, including the 1993 Peach Bowl and 1997 Gator Bowl trophies. The upcoming season's schedule is listed in the lower left portion of the poster and some random accomplishments (like finishing in the Top 10 in 1996 - Top 10!!!) written in the upper right. And on my particular version of the poster, Mack Brown has written out:
A future UNC great.
Boy did he nail it. I DID go to UNC, and I AM great! That guy has always been remarkable, and this poster provides just one more piece of evidence of that fact.
Carolina Collectibles Comparison: Mack Brown
These comparisons are a lot easier to come up with when the item being reviewed features a Tar Heel player or coach right on them. Unfortunately, most of my items don't fit that description. But this one does, so Mack Brown is the obvious comparison to make to a Mack Brown poster signed by the man himself.
Carolina Collectibles Rating: 5 Stars
A personalized signature from the best coach Tar Heel football has ever had on the poster from his last season as coach before leaving for an actual football school? Five stars is really the only option here.