If you've ever wanted an autographed picture of a former Carolina football coach who left the school involuntarily and whilst under a cloud of smoke caused by an NCAA investigation, today could be your lucky day! With the NCAA ruling finally clearing that smoke away, we’re celebrating with a giveaway!
The Story Behind the Item
In late summer 2011, I visited my "brother from another mother," Andrea. Andrea lived with my family as a foreign exchange student during the 2000-2001 school year (my junior year, his "senior" year as classified by the school upon his arrival). When 2011 rolled around, I hadn't seen him since my wedding in 2005, so the trip to Italy was a long overdue reunion. Crazy as it may sound, not only did my wife and I fly to Milan, but we also took our 15 month old son.
I would not advise taking just any child on a six-ish hour flight. First of all, the child should be yours. Second, and more importantly, you should know their personality. For instance, we would never have taken our daughter on a long flight at 15 months old. She'd have gotten us killed by the other passengers. In fact, when she was nine months old, I had a conference in California, and we left her with the grandparents for nine or ten days so I could attend the conference and then go to Disneyland with the wife and son. Our son, however, has always been a go-with-the-flow type of kid, and he was amazingly well behaved on both the flight to and from Italy.
The flight out was easy since it was an overnight flight, so he just slept virtually the entire time. The flight back, though, was my major concern, given that it was during daylight hours and we'd need to keep him entertained for most of the time in the air. I apologized in advance to the guy sitting next to us since he would have to endure whatever happened over the next six hours, and shortly after that we took off.
For the first hour our son played with random little toys we'd packed. For the next 30 minutes or so he ate a snack. Then he slept about two and a half hours. When he woke up, I was watching a movie on the seatback in front of me with my headphones plugged in to the arm rest. He crawled onto my lap and unplugged the headphones. Then he plugged them back in. Then he unplugged them. Then he plugged them back in. He continued this form of working on his fine motor skills for the next two hours. In complete and total silence. Two. Hours. At one point, the guy next to me actually told me he hated me because his kids were never that quiet on a plane. All that to say, he traveled well.
The best part was that he finally hit his breaking point just as we landed in DC. He started screaming as we made our way to Customs, and by the time we got near all of the security measures Customs puts you through, he was in full blown meltdown mode. It was so awful, the Customs folks just motioned us through a side gate and sent us along on our merry way. No waiting in line, no bag searching, no nothing. He then fell quietly to sleep. It was fantastic.
So how does this trip to Italy have anything to do with an autographed Butch Davis poster? Well, an astute observer may have noticed the time period of our trip. Late summer, 2011. Which meant that the day after we landed, I walked out of the bedroom and found Andrea sitting on the couch watching SportsCenter. (In Italy! The American SportsCenter!) And whose face was on the screen? Butch Davis'. Headline? "Butch Davis Out at UNC."
I should probably take a step back and let you know that good things rarely happen to Carolina athletics while I'm traveling. When the football team lost to Clemson 52-7? I was at a cabin in the mountains for the weekend. When the basketball team lost to Texas in the first ever college basketball game played in Jerry World? Saw it in person. When the NCAA showed up on campus and word of the investigation became public knowledge? I was on the beach in Destin, Florida. When the basketball team went 13-5 in ACC play in 2013-2014? I was on a cruise for three straight losses to Wake, Miami, and Syracuse. Kris Jenkins? I was there for that, too (I'll provide all the details of that in another post). I'd limit my travel to only the summer when there are no Carolina athletics happening, but clearly that just creates off the field/court issues.
Before he met his untimely demise, though, I attended the 2007 Carolina Football Spring Game and waited in line to have Butch Davis sign a picture of himself squeezing a football. Lucky for you, my wife waited in line with me and also had a picture signed. That means I have a duplicate Carolina Collectible, and duplication of items will be one of the primary drivers behind my giveaways. So how do you win? Simply follow @ArgyleReport and @HeelsboroDave on Twitter and mention us in a tweet this week telling us where you were when you heard Butch Davis had been dismissed (use the hashtag #carolinacollectibles). Winner will be announced in this column next Monday. Best of luck!
Carolina Collectibles Description
This 8.5" x 11" picture features Butch Davis squeezing a UNC football as he stares into the camera while giving the slightest hint of a smile. It has an interlocking NC and "CAROLINA" written at the top and in smaller font at the bottom it reads "2007 North Carolina Spring Football." In the lower right, Coach Davis has signed his name. Did I know when I waited in line for an hour in the sweltering heat just to get his autograph that in a few short years the program would be on NCAA probation? I wish I'd known.
Carolina Collectibles Comparison: Butch Davis
These comparisons are super easy when the object literally has a picture of a Carolina person on it, but there is a real comparison to be made, too. Just like the actual Butch Davis arrived at Carolina as a potential savior of the football program but left it in turmoil, this autographed picture of Butch came into my collection as an apparent superstar but now hangs on a wall surrounded by a plethora of other pictures and posters of football coaches that haven't exactly panned out for the Heels.
Carolina Collectibles Rating: 3 Stars
I originally gave this five stars, but two stars were later vacated, so three it is.