Just for the record, coach, the term Tar Heel is linked to the states early years as a colony, when tar and pitch found in what became North Carolina were used to seal the bottoms of British ships. Oh, folklore has the term linked to the Civil War, when North Carolina troops were said to stand firm in battle as if they had tar on their heels, but thats probably legend.
UNCs football coach Larry Fedora, in his second year at Chapel Hill, is still learning about the broader meaning of Tar Heel. Hes also still learning the premium North Carolinians put on manners, especially when youre a guest. In the wake of his win over N.C. State in Raleigh last Saturday, the coach gave a jab to N.C. States promotional campaign based on the tagline: This is our State. Fedora, a Texas native, said, As far as I know, its always been the Tar Heel state and always will be.
That comment was preceded by Tar Heel players dancing on and slapping the Wolfpack logo at N.C. States Carter Finley Stadium. In truth, the NCSU campaign is a bit presumptive, but also, on one level, accurate. NCSU is, after all, called State by most North Carolinians.
The UNC celebration was immature; Fedoras comments were inappropriate. Victory should have been statement enough. Instead, after some perfunctory praise for N.C. State, Fedora came across as rubbing it in. At least, thats the way some Wolfpack fans interpreted it.
A good win matters, but being a good winner matters more.