Friday, November 9, 2001
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General utilities worker Mark Knowles begins painting at the tail end of the Tar Heels logo in the west end zone during Wednesday's field preparations (above). Pam Atkins covers the UNC section of Kenan Stadium with blue and w
pompoms early Saturday morning before the football game (Below). Dan Mishin, Jeff Stanton and Sean Markham watch football during a pregame barbecue at Kingswood Apartments (bottom left). Kathy Haelenda paints a Tar Heel on Ce!
cheek before the game at Tar Heel Town in Polk Place (bottom middle). The UNC Marching Tar Heels practice their formations in Kenan Stadium (bottom, third from left).
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From Page 5
Placing the Pompoms
Pam Atkins, clad in a gray UNC T-shirt, denim shorts and a
miniature American flag pin, kicks a box stuffed with Carolina
blue and white pompoms, sending it tumbling end over end
down the steps of Kenan Stadium.
The box stops upside down at Row W. She tears open the box
and shakes out a bundle of pompoms, sending confetti-sized
pieces of plastic flying. Atkins then sidles between the bleachers,
placing a pompom on every other seat of Section 120. Sections
115 through 119 are already a sea of Carolina blue and white.
Atkins, a resident of Graham, says the Sports Marketing
Department asked her to help and that she is here before every
home game laying out 9,000 pompoms in the student sections.
The total was 25,000 before the department cut it back, but
Atkins is optimistic that the number will increase again.
“It’s great for the fans from other schools to see the wave of
blue, and it lets the team know the fans are behind them,” Atkins
says. “The players have thanked me before and are always
appreciative of the support, winning or losing.”
Atkins squints her eyes against the bright sunlight reflected off
the pale silver bleachers. She shuffles across Row X with four
giant bundles of shakers under her arms. She’s almost done with
Section 120. Then it’s on to Section 121.
Woody’s Tar Heel Tavern & Grill Manager Tom Carey has
been around the bar for a little more than an hour, bartender
Tony Lopez, just 10 minutes. Both sit talking while they wait on
the beer to arrive. It’s time to stock up for the weekend’s game
Carey expects to go through 25 to 30 bottles of liquor and 40
to 50 cases of beer. “We had one of the busiest days ever when
we played Florida State,” Carey says. “It should be jam-packed
Carey says visiting fans will be served under one condition.
“We’ll serve them as long as they behave,” he says.
On game day the staff will arrive early to open at 8 a.m.
“We serve breakfast with Bloody Marys, so people will get
here early to get a seat for the day,” Carey says.
It will be 45 minutes until Eric, the Anheuser Busch guy
arrives. And with him is the weekend beer.
The Carolina Inn is serving fresh-baked cookies with lemon
ade and iced tea in the foyer. It’s a game weekend tradition.
Home and visiting team fans enjoy the snack while talking
about the upcoming game. The friendly atmosphere belies the
competitive spirit preceding the game.
Two hours later, guests will make their way to the courtyard,
set with tables covered with white linen, where servers offer
complimentary wine, varied French cheeses and succulent
For the past 50 years, before UNC home games football fans
have been going to the inn, where rooms sell out in hours, says
Sara Gray, director of operations.
Gray, who has worked here for six years, knows many of the
guests and greets them by name.
Some patrons request the same room each season, she says,
and at least half of the 184 rooms go to the regular football rev
elers. “One guest wants the identical room he has stayed in for
the past few decades,” Gray says. “This gives him a view of his
old fraternity and the path that he took to school when he was
an undergrad here in the 19505.”
At the Movies
The day before they hit the field for a football game, North
Carolina’s football team comes in two buses to Park Place
Theatre in Morrisville to take a collective load off football.
Once inside the spacious lounge area, the players break off
into groups - defensive and offensive line, etc. -and attend to
their first line of business: the concession stand.
On the warm evening, nearly evety player indulges in Minute
Maid slurpees and popcorn.
The offensive lineman sit in sofas and chit chat, including
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Jupiter Wilson, who says he is planning to see “Rush Hour 2.”
Word is most players are going to see the action film “Training
They seem relaxed. Several - including running back Willie
Parker and comerback Michael Waddell - laugh and razz each
While in line, kicker Jeff Reed says, “I’m trying to see some
thing funny, get in a relaxed mood.”
After they get their goods, the team members split off into two
side entrances to see their respective films.
On this night, it’s not about football, it’s about flicks.,
Rameses, the UNC student mascot, works hard preparing in
advance for his theatrics performed on game day.
Each game, Paul Holshouser, John Colpitts and Andrew
Head transform into the school mascot, taking turns in Rameses’
Tonight, Holshouser and Colpitts rummage through a Chapel
Hill trash bin for props to use in Saturday’s game.
Holshouser explains that they usually go to Wal-Mart to buy
cheap props but thought the store wouldn’t carry what they were
looking for tonight.
“Since ECU is a pirate we’re thinking about making him walk
the plank,” says Holshouser, the senior mascot member. “So
we’re looking for a board.”
N4 Parking Lot
Thirteen students rush out of their residence halls into the
rainy, windy darkness to remove their cars from the N4 Lot,
located behind Cobb and Connor residence halls.
The University Department of Public Safety has placed red
flags and parking lot reservation signs to forewarn drivers so they
can avoid having their cars towed.
In less than 15 minutes, DPS will issue tickets, and 13 cars will
be towed to the back lot of the UNC General Administration
building because they are illegally parked.
Tar Heel Town
Asa helium tank puffs out bright balloons, lines start to fonn
at the barbecue tent. Jackie Wilson’s 1960s hit “Higher and
Higher” echoes from the Oldies 100.7 tent as a mom dances with
Blake Smith says he enjoys eating at Tar Heel Town before
games. “This is one of my favorite parts of pregaming - it’s real
ly good barbecue."
Polk Place looks like a Student Stores fashion show, with
throngs of fans sporting UNC T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, jerseys,
tattoos and ponchos.
Craig Marks is already cooking his chili.
As the faculty adviser for the UNC Skydiving Club, Marks
helps run the food stand that the club works to raise money. He
runs a “benevolent dictatorship,” allowing club members to
watch some of the game amid their selling.
He knows concessions add to the spirit of the game. “Can you
imagine 15,000 students showing up here with little brown bag
lunches?” he asks. “It just wouldn’t be the same.”
Top of the Hill
As game time approaches, Top of the Hill Restaurant on
Franklin Street is bustling with the movement of pregame excite
The bar is decorated with Carolina blue and white balloons
and packed with both UNC and ECU fans.
Sophomore Tricia Wessels, a hostess at Top of the Hill, says
business has picked up since the previous week’s victory.
“Tonight, die bar is going to be crazy,” she says.
“Football days are usually crazy, but I think FSU just triggered
this huge attendance.”
As for the customers, fans clad in both Carolina blue and East
Carolina gold and purple share in anticipation and excitement
of the game.
Charles Smith, an avid ECU fan who was with two UNC
fans, drove an hour and a half from Wilson to view the rivalry
As for the UNC fans he was with, he says, “They are close