The Carolina Tar Heels ran out into the baby Blue Heaven of Kenan Stadium on Saturday wearing (gasp) some sort of dark, navy, God forbid, Duke blue jersey’s. While the fans were sort of thrown back, especially since their own attire didn’t match the team’s, the players seemed to be energized by the new color and proceeded to kick Georgia Tech’s butt.
In the post game interview, Woody asked coach Butch Davis about the new color. Coach Davis said “the kids acted like it was Christmas morning when they came in the locker room and saw the jerseys.” Coach Davis went on to say that “the guys got really charged up and the color will be good for recruiting”.
I was wondering about that whole concept and it occurred to me that perhaps Carolina or Baby Blue might not be pugilistic or martial enough for your better football players and that some top recruits might choose another school over Carolina because of the colors…could that be? Could it also be that the “Tarheels” team name is not somehow menacing enough for the same players?
Pugilistic or martial colors go all the way back to the ancient Romans who wore the color of dried blood into battle. This was mostly a sensible thing to do since they didn’t wash their clothes for up to three years and they mostly soiled their uniforms with the blood and viscera of their victims. The result of all this carnage was that the dried blood color became fearsome in itself and many football teams use it even today. (USC, Washington Redskins, Alabama, etc.)
Let’s consider some of the other schools that Carolina recruits against and how their colors and mascots might give them some sort of recruiting advantage.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Really evil people running the local Baptist churches. Colors: Black and Gold. The color of black death robes combined with a special gold scythe and booty taken from the congregation. Terrifying.
Duke Blue Devils: Really evil people who are alternatively very depressed and/or work for the porn industry. Blue color comes from the color of the Federal troops under Sherman who burned the entire south, (focusing on Chapel Hill) during the Civil War.
NC State Wolfpack: Based on blood thirsty natural born killers that work in packs to isolate and kill the weakest of their quarry, which are then eaten in an orgy of violence and blood. Colors: The red of fresh blood.
Clemson Tigers: Based on the most dangerous man eating animal on earth that can tear your head off with one swipe of their razor sharp claws. Usually attack quarry from behind (sort of like clipping) such that the victim doesn’t even know what hit them. Color: Orange and black like the color of the vicious animal and the look of a ruined knee.
ECU Pirates: Based on the ruthless criminals of the sea who would just as soon kill you, rape your loved ones and steal all you money as eat a live blue crab like a crunchy potato chip. Colors: Purple and gold…the colors of bruised skin and booty.
South Carolina Gamecocks: Based on a pea brained chicken that’s too grisly to eat. These KFC rejects will fight to the death, usually by pecking the eyes out of its competitor. Colors: Crimson and black, the colors of dried chicken blood and disemboweled chicken eye balls.
Appalachian Mountaineers: Based on the characters from the movie “Deliverance” that drink moonshine, then hunt and rape their quarry using civil war era weaponry. Colors: Black and gold: Black is the color of old gun powder and bad teeth. Gold is the color of moonshine made in a ‘57 Chevy radiator.
UNC Tarheels: Uh…let’s see. Based on a civil war story about some guys from North Carolina who fought so hard in a battle it was like they were stuck in tar. (This can actually be a recruiting problem as well based on which side you pulled for in The War of Northern Aggression). Colors: Baby blue. This color suggests a new born baby boy who will fight you viciously with his rattle right before nap time. It also suggests a really nice day for a football game. (Carolina blue sky). OK, so they get a Ram to make the whole thing seem more pugilistic, but then they paint the ram’s horns baby blue. They look like two baby rattles glued to Little Beau Peep’s pet lamb.
Kitty Kinnin speculated that Carolina’s name and colors led to sort of a “Boy Named Sue” effect, named after the Johnny Cash song. This relates to how a boy with the name Sue would actually fight harder and be manlier that a guy named Dick. If you believe in the Boy Named Sue effect, a mean dude in a uniform the color of a baby bib would run faster and hit harder than a guy dressed in a blood red jersey with a picture of a spear on their helmet. Not sure about this…
I saw this problem first hand this weekend when I took my daughter went to a Carolina football game for the first time. She was really excited when she first walked in the stadium…the team was coming on the field, the band was playing, the crowd was cheering and fireworks were going off in the Carolina blue sky. Then the game settled into a 3 yards in a cloud of (blue) dust affair and my daughter commented that she was getting drowsy. “Dad…everything is just so blue…the sky, the crowd, the field…I think I need a Red Bull”. (Not a Blue Bull). She went hunting for one but none was for sale in Blue Heaven.
So now you start to see the problem that Butch Davis is trying to overcome. He must have some research that shows that some of the meanest, knarliest players in the land are somehow put off by playing football in the colors of a baby blanket. So he has endeavored to find a more pugilistic Carolina Blue as to assuage these players concerns.
Let me just say this, the new Carolina Blue is not the same as Duke blue, although there was a rumor on Saturday that the start of State vs. Duke game was delayed for thirty minutes because Duke had to wait to get their jersey’s back from Chapel Hill. Simply not true.
After conducting some quick research I discovered the new Carolina blue is actually a Ralph Lauren wall paint color called “Victory Blue” which is a good name, even if it doesn’t really relate to anything. I also found out they had asked Alexander Julian to come up with a new color of blue, but instead he sent a football jersey over with argyles running down the sides…which is OK for the basketball team, but was seen to just add to the problem for the football squad. (The basketball team could wear actual baby rattles on their jerseys and would still have no problem recruiting).
I personally think that if the Tarheels keep playing the way they have been, they will be able to recruit good players no matter what the colors they wear. But what do I know?
I think the next big trend in pugilistic football uniforms will be to wear camouflage like modern soldiers do. Can you imagine the team running on to the field, sort of invisible. How about 70,000 fans, all dressed in mossy oak, faces painted like Martin Sheen in “Apocalypse Now”. The firing of 155 howitzers after every touchdown. Quarterbacks with real “rocket arms”.
The new slogan, “UNC is looking for a few good men”. Now that’s a great recruiting plan.