A.C. Snow

Snow: Our state’s image and postgame handshakes

One of the concerns raised during the recent brouhaha over HB2 was what effect it would have on North Carolina’s national image.

What is North Carolina’s image anyway?

Many of us like to think of our state as one of the most, if not the most, progressive Southern states. Yet when we venture beyond our borders we’re often surprised to encounter comments suggesting otherwise.

Reader Rebecca Llewelyn cites an example.

“My husband Doug and I were were vacationing in Bermuda and having dinner at a lovely restaurant,” she writes. “ A gentleman from Vermont was at the next table with his elderly mother.

“They struck up a conversation with us. We chatted for a few moments and the gentleman asked where we were from. When we said North Carolina, they gasped aloud and he said, ‘Well, surely you aren’t natives. You sound so educated.’ ”

“We assured them that North Carolina has some fine schools and an outstanding university system. The conversation dwindled after that,” Rebecca said.

Some of you transplant Tar Heels might like to share your image of our state before you relocated here.

Postgame handshake

It may be difficult for some diehard fans to realize, but, yes, there is life after basketball season.

However, there’s no law against discussing the game at any time of the year, especially in a state as addicted to the game as this state is.

Just before the season ended, reader Bob Murphrey of Ayden raised an interesting point.

“It’s hard to imagine the level of emotion and intensity of athletic contests, especially a major college basketball game,” he wrote. “But it’s not necessary for opposing team members to love one another, and I think all that hugging and handshaking after the game is phony.

“A little healthy animosity helps players and coaches get motivated to play their best. So I don’t take anything said during or immediately after a heated game seriously.”

I tend to agree. The postgame “love in” between opposing team members reminds me of my childhood altercations with my brother.

After separating us and then applying the hickory switch, our mother would order us to kiss each other and say “I’m sorry.”

Still seething with latent anger, we didn’t mind the punishment nearly as much as the “kiss and make-up” peck on the cheek. It only increased our animosity.

Those postgame handshakes between the coaches and players may be OK for the winners, but for losing team members, it has to be a form of adding insult to injury.

Others will argue that the ritual teaches good sportsmanship and serves as a reminder that the postgame handshake is only a part of the game, not a life-changing thing. And they may be right.

Attention: Bank bandits

Thanks to the epidemic of domestic and foreign terrorism, we live in an age of angst.

A sign on the outside of the credit union my daughter patronizes in St. Petersburg, Fla., announces: “No hats, No hoods, No weapons, No sunglasses, No pets.”

That seems to cover the territory when it comes discouraging would-be bank bandits. It also alerts them on what not to wear if they’re planning a heist.

Hello, April

Every April I think of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s lines: “O world, I cannot hold thee close enough! … Lord, I do fear thou’st made the world too beautiful this year.”

Millay must have written her poem in April. I think of April, bursting forth in paroxysms of beauty, as being Nature’s apology for winter’s wrongdoings.

Snow: 919-836-5636; asnow@newsobserver.com