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David Foster/Charlotte Observer

Respect in sports is personal, as subjective a concept as can be. People respect seeming effortlessness, as in the case of Steph Curry’s cocksure 35-foot bombs under duress. Those same people may value in the same measure the distinct work ethic required to reach Curry’s dominance in the first place. Earning respect takes a variety of forms – achieving an objective preeminence helps, but so does fighting on behalf of a teammate and playing through the end of a long-dead season with as much tenacity as at the start.

Two separate, but thus far equal, entities continue to struggle with earning the respect of fans and casual observers. For the Charlotte Hornets, an identity crisis has stifled interest in a relatively small – but growing – basketball market, whose most notable notoriety this month comes on the heels of legislation rather than the home team’s magnificently disciplined run to and through the playoffs. For the Cleveland Cavaliers, another issue of identity has chased the team for two seasons. In both cases, fairness never bothers to pick up the phone.

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Super Bowl 50 - Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos

(via Getty Images)

I had a dream the Friday before Super Bowl Sunday. It was one of those lucid episodes where you remember everything so vividly to the point where there’s no question that what you’re experiencing isn’t real. I was in a bar, and it was the week after the Super Bowl. I ran into one of my friends, and, in the midst of our conversation, he pointed up at the television screen with feigned indifference. “Welp,” he said. “Can’t believe the dab’s over.” I looked up and read Super Bowl 50’s final score in glowing gold type: Denver Broncos 29 – Carolina Panthers 13.

In the dream I was livid. I began to yell and gnash my teeth and scream at anyone around me about the stupidity of the NFL. Then, before I could finish a coherent sentence, I woke up. It was Saturday morning and the sun started peaking through the blinds. There were no think pieces about the loss, no crying Jordan memes and no odes to the “everyman” brilliance of Peyton Manning. There was just the sound of a dog barking in the apartment over. I would have to wait another day to wake up again.

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Welcome to TV Party, a weekly segment where we preview ten five of the week’s most exciting match-ups in college football so you know when to grab some beer and ignore the outside world.

This week: After a few weeks of an embarrassment of riches, this week is shaping up to just be another embarrassment. Embarrassments are some of the most terrifying situations for some people, including yours truly. That works out great for this week’s lead up to Halloween. So, to preview this week’s slate, I am going to run five games with my very own Horror Index, which is based on some of the most embarrassing moments of my life. SPOOKY SCAAAARRY! 

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Via USA TODAY

Cleaning Up the Mess is here to make sense of what just happened at your weekend-long television party. Who put Goldfish in the blender? And why is the thermostat on 42?

This week: Award-winning college football analyst James Vasiliou is in Blacksburg to watch his Ohio State Buckeyes dot the “i” against Virginia Tech, so Rory Masterson posted this on his behalf, under his name, knowing full well that nobody would expect him to know this much about college football. Anyway, South Carolina and North Carolina offer you $75 tickets to watch a film on Earth’s lowering water levels. Purdue can’t be bothered to know anything about Marshall football. Also, I thought Sark banned drinking in the locker room.

After a long four days of college football to fill our gullets, there’s a gluttonous need to keep feeding especially after the sample size was so small. Thursday night was a morsel of games that yielded results which left the public licking the plate clean and then eating the plate. This was due to things like the unexpected fist fight between TCU and Minnesota where the Golden Gophers scared the second-best team distinction out of the Horned Frogs. There was also the Utah Utes, beating the brakes off of a Harbaugh-led Michigan team whose offensive problems are resoundingly Hoke in nature. Vegas’ favorites weren’t the talk of the town; the story lines surrounding their opposition became the main course as night faded into day, and Hawaii played Colorado or something.

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We here at TwH are not in the business of declaring something as THE Song of the Summer – there are a ton of other places for that. We’re just here to guide you to some songs you might want to add to your Spotify, Tidal or that little upstart with its own live, actual radio station, for the summer. We’ll give you updates as the summer progresses.

It’s the middle of the summer, and temperatures have risen to the point where it’s either barely bearable or torturous. Basketball is out, the U.S. Women’s National Team brought us a World Cup, and now we’re just left with the slow burn of baseball’s languorous pace. We’re nearing the dog days, but the music churned out since Memorial Day has been anything but a slow roll. Here are some tracks to keep you cool in the unforgiving broil of the mid-summer sizzle.

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METHRED

For what feels like a truly immeasurable number of reasons, the existence of the Wu-Tang Clan is a monumental feat in hip-hop. Consider the genesis of the group: a couple of kung-fu-obsessed cousins in Staten Island recruit some friends and start rapping to each other with a full-fledged five-year plan to take over the music industry. An unparalleled debut album gives way to a flood of solo records, each more outstanding than the others. Individual personalities coalesce and gestate inside the Clan before embarking on a crusade to change the way people think about how music happens and why. On November 22nd, at The Orange Peel in Asheville, North Carolina, we had a chance to bare witness to this pursuit, as one of the Clan’s most prominent members and his most trusted associate spat and spun the crowd into a full-fledged ruckus as if it were 1994.

What I’m really trying to say is this: from the slums of Shaolin, Method Man and Redman struck again.

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Lance

On November 7th, at the behest of Blog Serf James Vasiliou, I attended my first game in the Time Warner Cable Arena of this NBA season. Much has changed since last year, of course; the historically dismal Charlotte Bobcats had re-branded themselves as the Charlotte Hornets, returning to this city one of the most recognizable symbols of its growth during the 1990s and revitalizing a brand which had never really been the same since George Shinn moved the team to New Orleans in 2002. I fully intended to write about how the Charlotte Hornets, rather than the Bobcats, had returned to their place as a rallying point for a city, a way of telling the rest of America that Charlotte hosts more than simply heartless financial institutions and an airport you hate to stop through on your way to Boston, or Philadelphia, or Dublin. I intended to write about how the Bobcats’ postseason appearance last year, only its second in franchise history, became the perfect setup for this season and the re-emergence of the Hornets at just the right time. I wanted to write about how much better purple and teal look than grey, orange, navy and whatever other random colors the Bobcats haphazardly slapped on their uniforms each season to sell more gear to their beleaguered fanbase. I wanted to write about Al Jefferson’s jump hook (I’ll do that anyway, don’t worry).

Instead, I became positively enchanted with the Hornets’ shiniest new toy. No matter what happened on the court, I could not steal a glance away from him. This is how I learned to stop worrying and love Lance Stephenson.

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Welcome to TV Party, a weekly segment where we preview ten of the week’s most exciting match-ups in college football so you know when to grab some beer and ignore the outside world.

This week: CONFERENCE PLAY BARRELS INTO THE LIVING ROOM AT 240 MILES PER HOUR DRIVING A 1986 TRANS AM WHILE BLARING ‘UNCHAINED’ BY VAN HALEN. “HEY, GUESS WHAT THIS TRANS AM RUNS ON,” CONFERENCE PLAY ASKS AS THE SMELL OF UNLEADED GASOLINE EMITS THROUGHOUT YOUR LIVING ROOM. “UPSET POTENTIAL WOOOOOOOOOO”

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Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon with American sweetheart Rosario Dawson – Courtesy of Old School 105.3

On Wednesday, around 3 o’clock, I was scrolling through Facebook when I noticed a status from Creative Loafing Charlotte which indicated that the mayor of our fair city, Patrick Cannon, was being arrested on charges of theft and bribery. I couldn’t believe it. In Charlotte? In sleepy Charlotte, NC? Where nothing happens? Where we are maligned constantly by national publications for being perceived as boring? Well, guess what: We are now in the ranks with some of the most esteemed, cultured cities of this United States and their histories of corrupt city officials. Washington, DC, New York City, Boston, Los Angeles and the like – they are about that life, and so are we!

 

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[Author’s note: it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted anything college football related and I would like apologize to the .01% of dedicated readers of my weekly posts. Sometimes day jobs get hectic and sometimes you tend to put your hobbies on the shelf for awhile. There. That’s my excuse]

The last Thursday in November is usually reserved for the gluttonous holiday known as Thanksgiving. It’s a time of year where extended families gather around a table and pretend to tolerate each other long enough to clean off their plate of pumpkin pie. But this shortened work week dedicated to mass tryptophan consumption, hectic Black Holiday shopping and drunken diatribes about Miley Cyrus from your crazy uncle would not be complete without the catharsis found in hating the hell out of your rival college’s football team.

The last Saturday in November has become the showcase for the most bitter rivalries in college football. A lot of the storied match-ups are here: Auburn-Alabama, Clemson-South Carolina, Ohio State-Michigan, UCLA-USC. The whole week is a build up of antagonizing opposing fan bases with Thanksgiving serving as a (sometimes) temporary muzzle on baseless accusations about other fan bases and the players that represent the university. Once all of the leftovers have been stored away, it’s an echo chamber of disapproval and disgust. To lose to the other side will mean 365 days of eating the crow you let loose with every jab at the opposing team. To win means laughing endlessly at your opponent with all the joy of a sick child as he burns ants using the rays of a summer sun and a magnifying glass.

Rivalry week taps into the petulant child in every fan base and it would be unjust for us at TwH to not feed into the fervor that this week brings. That’s why I bring you a biased look at each rivalry as well as how I view their fans.

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