Not exactly a victory for sportsmanship after UNC-NC State game

November 4, 2013 

Just for the record, coach, the term “Tar Heel” is linked to the state’s 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 that’s probably legend.

UNC’s football coach Larry Fedora, in his second year at Chapel Hill, is still learning about the broader meaning of “Tar Heel.” He’s also still learning the premium North Carolinians put on manners, especially when you’re a guest. In the wake of his win over N.C. State in Raleigh last Saturday, the coach gave a jab to N.C. State’s promotional campaign based on the tagline: “This is our State.” Fedora, a Texas native, said, “As far as I know, it’s 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. State’s 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; Fedora’s 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, that’s the way some Wolfpack fans interpreted it.

A good win matters, but being a good winner matters more.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service