The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday June 29th

Putting Basketball in Perspective

"Are you freakin' kidding me?!? We lost to Clemson University? Clemson! Are they still in the ACC? For that matter, are they still in Division 1?"

This column's much too short to sugarcoat. Don't get me wrong, I'm not jumping overboard the UNC basketball ship in 2001 A.D. (After Doherty.)

That said, having to watch UNC's win streak, undefeated season and No. 1 ranking flush down the drain against a school whose colors are orange and purple pains me.

Sure, it was a stretch to think we'd run the table. Even Wilt Chamberlain in his heyday never was that lucky.

Still, to lose to Clemson? This is a team, mind you, that's visited Chapel Hill 47 times and 47 times has left with yet another notch in the "L" column. Despite Sunday's contest, the Heels maintain a slight edge in the all-time series, 108-17.

Yes, 108-17. That's an 86.4 winning percentage. Pretty good. How good?

Well, let's phrase it this way: It's a good thing most Clemson students take an extra year to graduate because, on average, it's only every fifth year that their school manages to beat UNC.

And that's what makes Sunday's loss sting more than a honey-deprived hive of killer bees. It's especially tough for those Carolina fans, the ones like myself who follow college basketball way too seriously, to stomach.

With all that in mind, I've compiled a list of what I'd rather have happen than losing another game to Clemson.

For example, I'd opt for class at 8 a.m. Five days a week. In advanced organic chemistry. (Forget that I'm still confused how water is formed by two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen.)

The class, which will determine if I graduate, will be taught in Swahili, but I'll forever vow to refer to those mornings as "learning" experiences.

Rather than dropping another game at Littlejohn Coliseum, I'll request a Novacain-free root canal, immediately followed by a soothing chiropractic appointment with Dr. Hulk Hogan.

I hear that "Human Pretzel" stretch is particularly pleasing on the spine.

Voluntarily I'd live all four of my undergraduate years in Alcatraz Dormitory, or whatever the caged-in Hinton James Residence Hall is now called. They do let the residents out every week or three for some fresh air, right?

Before accepting a Clemson Tiger victory, first ship me to that proverbial desert island with just one CD: John Tesh's Greatest Hits. But, do this only after allowing me the thrill of watching a 24-hour Jean Claude Van Damne movie marathon.

I'd even swim for a UNC win and script out the scene.

Here's what happens: With a furious doggy paddle I edge out the other swimmers to successfully complete the swim test. I then hop out of the pool to celebrate -- only to realize my swim trunks are doing their own rendition of the dead man's float somewhere in my lane.

Years from now when I'm no longer a young, cheap student but rather an old, cheap alumnus, I'll still hate losing to Clemson enough to offer a few self-sacrifices.

For example, my life savings, including my childhood piggy bank, will help start up a dot-com retail company.

Heck, I'd even prefer living in New Jersey than losing to Clemson. Well, maybe not, but at least I'm willing to stay overnight in the Garden State before I'll concede defeat.

To avoid a loss, I'll knowingly use a bad rubber ... to go bungee jumping.

To secure a UNC win, let me check in for plastic surgery and check out with Mick Jagger's lips, Jay Leno's chin, David Letterman's teeth, Alfred E. Newman's ears, Pinnochio's nose and Alf's haircut. Worse still, make me look like a Duke University cheerleader.

I'd also gladly spend two semesters campaigning for student office, only to receive fewer votes than all but two basketball players. And if that's not enough, I'll work for free listening to countless tone-deaf actors audition for a role in the next Levi's "Karma Chameleon" commercial.

Heck, I'd rather attend an uplifting lecture by Bob Dole, discussing the beauty of Viagra. Or, I'll force myself to visualize seven simple words, best said by Austin Powers: Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day.

Yuck.

Please please please, instead of a loss lock me up and throw the key down the Old Well, but allow me an endless video highlights reel of the Smith Center's Blues Brothers. Then, after I'm delirious (which shouldn't take longer than the length of two timeouts), lend me back-issues of "Welcome to Davis Library" to read.

Or, better yet, stuff me and Dick Vitale into a telephone booth minutes after a Duke win and a UNC loss. That'd be awesome, baby! Well, at least it'd be better than falling to the Tigers.

In all fairness, however, there is one thing worse than losing to Clemson University.

Going to school there.

Dan Satter is a junior history and journalism and mass communication major from Framingham, Mass. Tell him what you'd do to prevent another UNC loss, up to and including streaking, by e-mailing him at satter@email.unc.edu.

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