web analytics

gogo’s Alphabetical Channel Guide Shows Where the Damned Channel Is

twclogo Tomorrow Time Warner Cable is putting their channel lineups into a blender. The result will be better groupings of channels, with automatic selection of HD channels. All channels below 100 will stay as-is.

The problem is, what do you do when you are used to going to channel 1500 to see SportsCenter? How do you find where Palladia and TLC went? Instead of searching through Time Warner’s Numeric channel guide, you can use the gogoraleigh Alphabetical Channel Guide. Simply fold it in half and keep it in a convenient place. It’s a free download, and it’s gogoraleigh’s way of thanking the readers for keeping gogo going (for 6 years now)!.

gogoraleigh’s Alphabetical TWC Channel Guide (.pdf)


A Plan for UNC’s Dean Smith Center

From the Vault:

deandome_sink On Monday the News & Observer’s Andrew Carter published an article about UNC doing a feasibility study about Smith Center renovations. While the university claims the facility is still "first rate", fans and recruits know better. Access to the building is among the worst in the country, seating is cramped, bathrooms are dirty and in disrepair, there are no luxury boxes for revenue generation, and student seating is too far from the court to offer a home court advantage like other teams enjoy. The photo shows the men’s room situation, where those who choose to wash their hands are rewarded with only a frigid trickle of water and empty soap dispensers.

None of this is new, however. In 2000 Tar Heel fans had these same complaints about the then 15-year old Smith Center. I submitted four options (featuring 4 to-scale cutaway diagrams) to then Athletic Director Dick Baddour with only a polite form letter in reply. Unfortunately the only renovations since that time have focused on player and coach areas and lower level chair replacement. Problems with the building remain, and it is good that the university is reviewing options.

Attached is the 2008 gogoraleigh post that reposted the original 2000 plans for renovating the Smith Center. The success of the student section behind the home goal shows that Project 1a is quite feasible, and likely the rest still are.

There once was a snowy night back in the year 2000. As two feet of snow fell on the Triangle, the UNC Tar Heels were to face the Maryland Terrapins in the Dean Smith Center. Weather prevented most ticket holders from attending, so all seating was opened to general admission. The the court was surrounded by screaming students and those at the game said it was "magic" as the Heels upset the Terps. On my twelve-year-old UNC blog, Tar Heel HOOPla , I posted some ideas for renovating the Smith Center shortly after the game. The plans would allow the court to be permanently surrounded by students while appeasing the building’s donors. (I also sent these to Athletic Director Richard Baddour, but only received a polite form letter in return.) As the Dean Dome completes its 23rd season, not much has changed. The building doesn’t allow the team to get the most support possible. It isn’t a lost cause, though. These same ideas could still be applied to give UNC a better home court advantage. Here is that 2000 article:

Dana’s Smith Center Renovation Plans

As UNC plays its 15th season in the Smith Center , the debate over student seating rages on. Both of the times in the 15 years that seating has been changed to “general admission”, the court has been surrounded by students, and the players have responded with a resounding performance. This could become the norm for the Smith Center with some easy improvements. Clearly N.C. State has shown with their new arena that placing students, the most active and audible fans, around the court creates an intimate, loud setting in a large venue. Simply reassigning student tickets to the first several rows will not suffice as students usually stand for the entire game. Because the lower level descends to the court surface smoothly, the only way to accommodate standing students without obstructing other lower level patrons is to sink the front rows.

Project #1

Dean_dome_proj1a Project #1 focuses on placing students around the basketball court. To date there are two popular solutions floating around. One plan, Project 1a, involves replacing the current collapsible seating in the first 11 rows with lower-rise collapsible seating. Given that the 12th row (the first row of permanent seating) patrons should not have their view obstructed by standing students, there should be a drop-off of 43″ from the 12th to 11th rows. This will allow patrons to see over rowdy students that are up to 6′2″ tall. The first row of permanent seats, unobstructed, would become a premium seat location. This new seating would seat students exclusively, so the quality of the chair is not important. Seat width can be as narrow as the seats upstairs, too, since students won’t be using these seats as much as paying patrons.

While Project 1a is a fairly inexpensive solution, it substantially compromises the students’ view. If the current collapsible seating were removed, there would be a wall about 96″ high just in front of the 12th row. After accounting for a 43″ drop, the new collapsible seating could only be 53″ tall. Given those dimensions,11 rows of collapsible seating would only provide an 8.8 degree rise from the floor. While this is almost 50% steeper grade than the current configuration at N.C. State, 8.8 degrees is still too shallow to enjoy the game to the fullest. Also, these seats would be decidedly inferior to those currently in place for non-basketball events. Dean_dome_proj1b

Project 1b replaces the collapsible seating with the best overall aesthetic and functional solution. In this plan the collapsible seating and Smith Center playing surface would be removed and the floor would be excavated 82″ down. A new floor and collapsible seating would be installed.

This new, lowered section of collapsible seating would ascend not at the current 15 degree angle, but at the 20 degree angle seen in the permanent rows of the lower level. Keeping this 20 degree angle is essential to preserving the views of the students and the ticket-holders in those seats for non-basketball events.

In either plan the permanent aisles would not be confluent with the new fold-back seating, so the aisles would have to be reconfigured in at least 4 places so that students in lower rows could access the concourse. While the removal of the existing fold-back risers and the reconfiguration of a few aisles would remove several seats, the new seating arrangement would put nearly 2800 students in the first 11 rows lining the court providing the rowdiest, most intimidating home-court atmosphere in the nation.

Projects 2, 3, and 4 outline several ideas concerning the addition of luxury suites to the Smith Center. While luxury suites can ease UNC’s budget, they also can offer some incentives for lower level patrons to give up the seats affected by Project #1.

Project #2

Dean_dome_proj2 Project #2 involves replacing the current suites and seats under the second level overhang with luxury suites. These suites would be replete with 8 leather seats overlooking the playing surface, a countertop for bar and food service, a television, and a private bathroom.

Fifty-two such luxury suites could be placed with ease in the Smith Center. ( seating map ) There would be two non-adjoining suites at the top of sections 127, 126, 125, 124, 121, 118, 117, 116, 113, 110, 109, 108, 107, 104, 101, 100, 133, and 130. Single suites would top sections 123, 122, 120, 119, 115, 114, 112, 111, 106, 105, 103, 102, 132, 131, 129, and 128. Each suite would need to be about 15 feet deep (from the back of the second row of leather seats to the concourse door). In order to accommodate the addition of the suite, approximately five rows (Z, AA, BB, CC, DD) of current seating would need to be removed (shown in grey).

Project #3

Dean_dome_proj3 Project #3 involves the construction of a “halo” ring of luxury suites. Due to the design of the Smith Center, the only way to achieve this is to essentially build a structure resembling a ring of Kenan Stadium press boxes. These suites could actually be as large as desired, but are portrayed in the illustration as being 15′ deep. These suites would contain all the amenities mentioned in the lower level suites, but also would have a private concourse and elevator service to the Bowles Room. As shown in the diagram, about 3 rows of current seating (rows W, X, and Y) would be sacrificed to the 2 rows of leather luxury seats.

Clearly the view from a halo box is inferior to all others in the arena, so some incentives would need to be offered. First class wait service and food of the quality level of the Carolina Club would be offered. Halftime and final game statistics would also be delivered to each suite. Pampering the patrons in the halo boxes is an absolute must, though, in order to fill such suites.

Project #4

Dean_dome_proj4 Project #4, the most aggressive plan, focuses on placing luxury suites in the bottom of the upper level. Certainly the edge of the upper level is a cherished view, and these such suites would be even more cherished. In order to accommodate a suite in this prime location, a massive overhaul of the Smith Center would have to occur. Because rows E, F, and G and the vomitories would be removed, a separate, third level concourse for rows H through Y would have to be built over the current concourse. Stairways, restrooms, and concession stands would be placed in exterior additions to the existing Smith Center structure.

The second level suites would get their own concourse which would overlook the first floor (existing) concourse. These suites would have four rows of luxury seating, accommodating 32 patrons. Because the upper level ascends at an unbroken 34 degree rise, there would be an uncovered portion approximately 14′ 7″ deep. Some privacy could be offered by mounting an awning (shown as a heavy read line) at the end of the suite’s ceiling. Two private restrooms may be needed in these suites.

Certainly the Smith Center is one of the finest college venues in America, however some improvements could make the Heels more formidable at home. Clearly what is best for the team is placing the students around the court. As we saw in UNC’s game against Maryland and in all of N.C. State’s home games, students give a major boost to the team. While surrounding the court with students will make games more lively, those holding seats on the first 11 rows will have to be displaced. Surely there will be resistance to reassignment from some Smith Center donors. However plenty would minimally sacrifice their seat location in the name of improving the arena’s atmosphere. It is time for everyone involved to do what is best for the University.


Download ACC Basketball Calendars to Your Phone

basketball[1] The ACC Basketball season gets underway Friday night, so it’s time to get organized by putting your favorite team’s schedule into your calendar. It’s never been easier with gogoraleigh’s set of ACC Basketball calendars. For iPhone and iPad users, half a dozen taps gets your favorite team’s basketball games into your iOS Calendar. For Android users, it’s even easier.

The gogoraleigh basketball calendars are the only calendars on the internet that include clean team name data, the game’s tip-off time, and TV coverage information. Android users get a bonus; a convenient map link for the game’s venue.

android_cal_ss ipad_cal_ss

Gogoraleigh is also the only site that has a downloadable calendar that compiles all games of the ACC’s 15 teams. The Big Kahuna features all 341 ACC games and is perfect for those who want to keep up with big upcoming games across the league.Additional exclusives are home-only schedules for both UNC and NCSU.

Each calendar has a version that can be downloaded, however those who subscribe to a calendar feed will receive constant, free, background calendar updates as the season progresses.

New for this year: simplified instructions and a chance to send a donation in return for this easy offering! Simply click the schedule you want below, and follow the instructions.

ACC Basketball Calendars

Note: Maryland is defecting, so their calendar is not included in this collection. However, their games against other ACC opponents are included.


Why Restaurants and Grocers Should Trash the Bagged Lettuce

lettuce “Once, a long, long time ago…this lettuce was washed”

Lettuce is one of the most consistently consumed items of produce in America. Not only are salads the most popular appetizers, but lettuce is used frequently in entrees, too. Unfortunately there has been a recent uptick in food-borne illnesses from lettuce supplies. What has changed? The process of getting lettuce to our table, and some of these processes are leaving consumers helpless.

It used to be that consumers and restaurants could only buy whole heads of lettuce. Restaurants had to hire staff to clean and prepare the lettuce for service. The industry got more efficient, however, with the advent of supply-side washing and cutting. Certainly this meant that restaurants could reduce costs and simplify their operations. The proliferation of bagged salad products in grocery stores indicates soaring popularity among consumers, too.

The problem, however, is that food isn’t ever “sterilized” (ie eradicated completely of bacteria, spores, and viri). Once washed, lettuce still has bacteria, though in small amounts. That bacteria multiplies and the longer the time is between the wash and consumption, the more the bacteria will exponentially multiply. This is the problem with “prewashed” lettuce. It might as well read “once, a long, long time ago this lettuce was washed”. I took a bath last week, but that doesn’t mean I’m clean today. What’s scary is that this false sense of security is leading restaurants and consumers into simply dumping lettuce into bowls for immediate consumption; bad news!

Even worse, though, is the advent of supply-side lettuce chopping, especially when the head is separated in the field by the pickers’ cutting. When lettuce is torn or cut, it heals by placing a membrane over the wound. The wound, which was just smeared with the bacteria-laden field worker’s or machine’s knife, encapsulates the bacteria in the lettuce, and no amount of washing later in the production line to consumer can remove it.

This is dangerous stuff, and should be taken very seriously not only by consumers, but by restaurants. Restaurants should go back to purchasing heads and washing and tearing them on site. Not only is the health of the customer affected, future sales are affected when their food makes customers sick. I feel that restaurants that are avoiding these supply-side processes should boast and differentiate themselves from the establishments that are careless with their lettuce preparations.

There is almost no such thing as a “24hr bug”. It is almost always some level of food poisoning. When there is a dangerous component of the supply chain that leaves consumers helpless, especially one that is as ubiquitous as lettuce, we can only rely on a consumer movement to force an appropriate change.

Let your favorite restaurants know that you care about the way lettuce is handled. Ask servers if the restaurant used bagged lettuce. Tell the manager that you want on-site lettuce separate. DON’T buy the bagged product in the grocery store. Don’t rely on the EPA to change this. They aren’t the ones who will have to count the tiles on your bathroom floor. YOU have to make the change.

See also:

Download/Subscribe to the Hurricanes ’14 Calendar

image Canes hockey fans who like electronic calendars rejoice! I’ve uploaded the 2013-2014 Carolina Hurricanes schedule in .CSV, .ICS, and Google Calendar formats. This way you can easily port the schedule over to your Android phone, iPhone, Blackberry, Google Calendar, Outlook, and more!

Without a doubt, the gogoraleigh Hurricanes Calendar is the best on the web. Not only is the complete calendar available, but also a home-only version is available. For each event, the teams playing in the event are listed in 3-digit codes (ie “CAR/BUF”), so the entire event is easy to see on devices that can’t display wide paragraphs. Additionally, the game locations are listed, so on excellent phones one can tap the location field and see a map to the arena. This is perfect if you are going to the game in an away city!

Finally, with the synced versions of the calendar, game time changes and television information are automatically updated as the information becomes available. Those who are subscribed to last year’s Hurricanes schedule, your schedule has already been updated with the upcoming season’s dates.

All you do is point your device to the Calendar tab at the top of this page, scroll down to the Hurricanes calendar, and follow the link/instructions there. Go Canes!


Calendars are apt to change, so check back occasionally for updates. To determine the version of your schedule, open the note associated with any event, and look for the version number. If your calendar is older than those listed above, simply delete the events in Outlook in your old one and import the events of the newer file. Google Calendar is dynamically up-to-date. Use at your own risk. I do not accept responsibility for any consequences resulting from errors in the schedule.


Raleigh Still Ignoring Its Biggest Needs

At the end of 2010 I posted 30 of Raleigh’s biggest needs . Items from a tidied CAT bus system and event shuttle buses to fast Indian food and quick downtown taqueria still stand as idle problems. Thankfully we have seen improvements in the non-country concert schedules, better sanitation monitoring of food trucks, and the availability of fresh corn tortillas. However the remaining 27 needs still blow in the wind. A few of these are major projects, however many are simply a matter of will.

What would it take for the City of Raleigh install mileposts along Glenwood Avenue for better wayfinding all the way to the Durham County line? Why must CAT’s buses remain so dirty and why can’t that system tighten up their brand? Why can’t they offer special event shuttle buses from Moore Square to Walnut Creek and Booth Amphitheater? Why can’t we have a DPAC shuttle from downtown Raleigh?

The economy has been sluggish over the past few years, however many of the items on the list are not expensive, speculative ventures. We need an injection of spirit in Raleigh, and it wouldn’t help if that came from our elected leaders. Let’s get moving, Raleigh !


Saving Big on Propane. It’s A Gas Gas Gas

tankexchange It’s grilling season, and Triangle residents are doing a little spring cleaning and getting their equipment ready. For most, having a good portable propane tank is key. There are several options to consider, however, regarding how one supplies the gas.

The most convenient method for keeping stocked with propane is a tank exchange program. The customer takes their tank to a home improvement or grocery store, and takes home a different, filled tank. If there are any problems with the tank itself, the tank exchange vendor will pull the tank from circulation. The tank refills at Home Depot run in the $22 neighborhood, but the customer doesn’t have to purchase a tank, pay a membership fee, or pay a tank deposit fee.

Another option is refilling an existing tank. Places like U-Haul on Capital Blvd (just beyond Peace Street) and Costco can fill a tank, as long as it is in working condition and hasn’t expired. Tank refills are $10.50 at Costco, and are in the $15 neighborhood at U-Haul. This is a considerably less expensive option thank trading, but there are risks and difficulties.

In order to get propane at Costco, you park near the tire center, and take your tank to the propane island for inspection. (There is a call button if the attendant is not present). Once the tank passes inspection, you go into the store, wait in a cashier line, and tell the cashier that you are buying a 20 pound propane refill. After paying, you present your receipt outside at the propane station, and take your tank home.

Tanks can only be filled if they pass inspection, however. The valve must appear to be in working condition, and the tank should not appear rusty. The handle of the tank has a date imprinted, and this date must not be more than 12 years ago. Any tank that fails the inspection is denied and the customer must find another solution.

That risk doesn’t seem so great, however, when one considers the long term costs. Comparing a season of using an exchange program vs. Costco’s refill program, the Costco program is staggeringly cheaper. I use roughly 3.5 Blue Rhino tanks per year, which ends up costing around $77. Even though the tank is a 20 lb tank, Blue Rhino and RapidXchange only put 15 lb worth of material in the tank. Therefore I have used 53 pounds per year at a cost of $77, or $1.47/lb.

Costco’s refill delivers 20 lb of propane at a price of $10.50, or  $0.53/lb. This would cost me $27.83, resulting in an annual savings of about $50. That’s almost enough to buy two brand new unfilled tanks ($27.50 each) inside Costco. Each tank has its own gas gauge and has a 12-year lifespan. Over that 12-year lifespan, a tank exchange program would likely cost me $924 while a pair of Costco tanks with refills would likely cost $389.

The Costco system of selling propane is a hassle, for sure. However the long term costs are so much less, they are worth considering versus a tank exchange program.


Summer Bringing Great Triangle Concerts

concert Summer is just around the corner, and that means another great concert season in Raleigh. From now until the end of September, there is a slew of music and comedy shows guaranteed to ramp up the fun rate in the area. Once again, there are very few dates between now and mid-June that have no event scheduled, so save up, and get out of the house!

There are 100s of good entertainment options coming this summer. The best 85 of the music options (as of today) are assembled below. All of these events appear individually in the gogoraleigh Do-It Calendar with venue information, so you can easily add any event to your personal calendar.

Date Event
4/18 Alton Brown
4/18 Bob Mould Band
4/19 Chris Tucker
4/19 The Marshall Tucker Band
4/19 Billy Bragg
4/21 B.B. King
4/24 Sarah Silverman
4/25 Jillian Michaels
4/26 Barry Manilow
4/27 Styx/REO Speedwagon/Ted Nuget
4/27 Bob Seger
5/2 Bob Dylan/Dawes
5/3 Rush
5/4 Lyle Lovett/Delta Rae
5/4 Tim McGraw
5/6 Airborne Toxic Event
5/7 Smashing Pumpkins/AWOLNATION
5/7 Il Divo
5/8 Band of Horses
5/8 Boz Scaggs
5/8 Imagine Dragons/Paper Route
5/10 Amy Schumer
5/12 Josh Ritter
5/12 Carol Burnett
5/12 Robert Randolph
5/14 Alkaline Trio
5/17 Titus Andronicus
5/17 Los Lobos
5/18 Artsplosure
5/23 Kenny Chesney
5/30 James McCartney
5/30 LeAnn Rimes
5/31 Everclear/Live/Filter/Sponge
6/1 Best Coast
6/1 Flobots
6/4 Dropkick Murphys
6/5 Japandroids
6/5 Kevin James
6/7 The Postal Service/Ra Ra Riot
6/8 Brad Paisley
6/8 Widespread Panic
6/9 Widespread Panic
6/10 The National/Dirty Projectors
6/11 Passion Pit/Cults
6/13 Lumineers/Cold War Kids
6/15 Glen Hansard
6/20 Warren Haynes/NC Symphony
6/21 Zac Brown Band
6/22 Heart/Jason Bonham
6/22 One Direction
6/23 Kendrick Lamar
6/29 Indigo Girls
6/30 Gladys Knight/The O’Jays
7/6 Rachael Yamagata
7/6 Valient Thorr
7/7 Big Time Rush/Victoria Justice
7/9 Harry Connick, Jr.
7/10 Quidam Opens
7/11 Black Keys/Flaming Lips
7/13 Luke Bryan
7/21 OAR
7/23 Black Crowes/Tedeschi Trucks
7/26 Keith Urban
7/27 Lil Wayne/TI
7/28 Barenaked Ladies/Ben Folds Five/Guster
7/31 Jonas Brothers
8/3 Sheryl Crow
8/3 Bruce Hornsby
8/7 Goo Goo Dolls/Matchbox Twenty
8/9 Blake Shelton
8/16 Slightly Stoopid
8/17 Tift Merritt
8/24 Miranda Lambert/Dierks Bentley
9/3 Iron Maiden/Megadeath
9/5 Hopscotch Music Festival
9/5 John Mayer/Phillip Phillips
9/6 Pink Martini
9/6 Hopscotch Music Festival
9/7 Hopscotch Music Festival
9/8 Hopscotch Music Festival
9/10 Maroon 5/Kelly Clarkson
9/13 Jason Aldean
9/13 Taylor Swift
9/18 Steely Dan
9/20 Mary Wilson of the Supremes
9/24 City and Colour
9/25 Fun/Tegan & Sara
9/27 IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass Festival
9/27 Rascal Flatts/The Band Perry
9/28 IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass Festival

Download/Subscribe to the Durham Bulls Calendar

bulls1[1] Now that basketball season is over, it’s time for some Durham Bulls baseball! The Bulls’ home opener begins at 7pm tonight against Gwinnett. Now you can follow their home schedule as a Google Calendar or download it to your device. All you do is point your device to the Calendar tab at the top of this page, scroll down to the Durham Bulls calendar, and follow the link/instructions there. Go Bulls!


Download the Wake County School 2014 Calendars

calendar Wake County School System has compiled their official calendars for the 2013-2014 school years in PDF format . In fine fashion gogoraleigh has converted all of these calendars into numerous downloadable formats. Now readers can easily import their favorite school calendars into Android phones, iPhones, Outlook, and more. The set includes calendars for the Traditional, Track 1, Track 2, Track 3, Track 4, and Modified schools. Even better, if you already subscribe to any of these calendars, then all of the new dates have been automatically added for you. For more information (and of course, the 2012-2013 WCPSS calendars) see the Calendars tab at gogoraleigh .


Help From Down Lo’: Remembering The Cardiac Pack

Whittenburg…Oh! It’s a long way….

LorenzoCharlesMemorial The shot…or was it a pass…that stopped the hearts of millions of Americans on April 4, 1983…needed help. It seemed improbable that Dereck Whittenburg, having almost had the ball stolen, against one of the greatest college basketball teams ever to play the game, on his own, could complete a miracle with a wild desperation shot. He needed help…

The ‘83 season had been a long, complicated one. In the previous year State saw their archrivals win the National Championship, but Jim Valvano’s second squad gained momentum. With a 21-8 regular season mark and a first round NCAA Tournament exit, the Wolfpack felt like they could continue building on solid foundation in ‘83. They had some pretty darned good players returning; one of the nation’s best backcourts (Lowe/Whittenburg/Gannon) and  a strong frontcourt trio (Bailey/Charles/McQueen).

The Pack went into that first game in ‘82 against Virginia with a 7-2 record. That was the game in Reynolds where UVA’s Othell Wilson came down on Dereck Whittenburg’s 5th metatarsal, and seemingly doomed the Pack’s hopeful season. While a determined Whittenburg pushed himself through rehab, the Pack needed help, and got it as freshman Ernie Myers rose to the occasion. While the team’s overall results were mediocre in that stretch, they played well enough to keep a glimmer of hope for a successful season alive.

* * *

1983 was the first year that the ACC Tournament was played in Atlanta. Ever fans of visiting Atlanta, my family got tickets for the tournament. We were en route while Lorenzo Charles’ free throws disposed of Wake Forest just a week after blowing out those same Deacs 130-89. It was also the first time that perennial cellar-dwellers Georgia Tech were able to win an ACC Tournament game. Behind a little rookie named Mark Price, seemingly the entire Omni crowd got behind the Jackets and showed the evil Lefthander and Maryland a first-round exit.

We only had two tickets for Saturday’s session, so we hit the plaza with two fingers held high to the scalpers; we had to get two more tickets. The team needed our help! We found a pair and Saturday provided one of the tournament’s great historic games, as NCSU overcame a late 6-point deficit to win in OT over the Tar Heels. Once Jordan fouled out, I knew the Pack had it. My family made sure that on Sunday (assuming we could find two more tickets) with the Pack facing Ralph Sampson and the mighty Virginia Cavaliers, we would sit in the same pairs, with our programs in our laps, eating more Omni nachos, and drinking out of the Omni-labeled Coca-Cola paraffin cups.

When UVA went down and the Pack cut down the nets, we vowed to take our paraffin cups home and keep using them. We also whimsically paraded through the concourse holding 4-digits high pleading,”FOUR FOR ALBUQUERQUE!” (I made darned sure that Matt Doherty and his family standing by the exit doors heard me). We needed those tickets because in the tournament, they needed help!


The Cardiac Pack was born in that tournament. The Pack, seemingly always down by 6, was able to scoot by coaches named Harrick, Tarkanian, and Holland. For each game, we sat in our den holding those Omni programs and Omni cups, and pulled that team through. They needed help, right? The team didn’t even come back to Raleigh after the second game because their West Regional assignment led them from Corvallis, Oregon to Ogden, Utah. No problem for us, though; because as limp as they were getting, we had those cups!

The team won the West Region and returned to Raleigh and staged an open practice. Of course my family attended. The team needed help! It was a great week in Raleigh. While it was the school’s first trip to the Final Four since the Thompson era, everyone just enjoyed the ride. The Cardiac Pack was the favorite against Georgia in the semis, but a vast underdog to the other side of the ticket. To win a championship, they were going to need a LOT of help.

April 4th, Championship Day, rolled around and I was in knots. It was Spring Break, luckily, because there was no way I could have concentrated in my 8th grade classes. We didn’t get tickets to Albuquerque, but we still had our seat assignments, our programs, and our poor Omni cups. The cups were so limp, we put them inside larger stadium cups fearing a blowout (of the cup, that is).

At halftime State was BEATING Houston by 8! EIGHT! That’s four possessions, my friend. This was unbelievable. Little did I know…

Houston came out of the gates on all cylinders and the Pack found itself late in the game down by, you guessed it, SIX. They needed help…big time. However the Pack tied the game and found themselves in a position to pull off one of the biggest upsets in the history of sports. Whittenberg was a master of the catch-and-shoot, especially from the ACC’s ridiculous 17’9” 3-point line that year. However this desperation heave from 40’ with :04 remaining in the National Championship? He needed help.

* * *

Lorenzo Charles came to Raleigh from Brooklyn as one of Valvano’s first recruits. Valvano, hailing from Queens, always felt like he could give inner city guys a chance, and Lorenzo would be one of his first projects at State. Charles got in trouble his Freshman year, ‘81-‘82, for robbing a Domino’s Pizza man. It was a bad way to start his tenure in Raleigh, taking things from people. That isn’t help. Charles hit the weight room and matured quite a bit in the ensuing 12 months. The Cameron Crazies were still waving pizza boxes at him that Sophomore year, but Lorenzo was past that, and his game was starting to connect. In his Senior season, Charles earned First Team All-ACC honors, and that was against some of the league’s all-time greats like Kenny Smith, Brad Daugherty, Len Bias, Adrian Branch, John Salley, Bruce Dalrymple, Mark Price, and Johnny Dawkins. These are players who went on to have good, solid NBA careers.

The NBA game was probably too fast for Charles, but he had a nice pro basketball career in Europe for several years before returning to the Triangle. For years Charles did what he loved; driving people. He mostly drove limos, but also drove buses, including several jaunts for the Duke basketball team. Everywhere he went he was an instantly recognizable celebrity. However Lorenzo Charles was just doing what he learned under Valvano, helping people.

He only scored 4 points in that championship game, however those final two were timeless. It was a miracle in the making, and Whittenberg’s short shot, that seemed to hang in the air for an eternity, along with that miraculous run could never have become legend without a little help…from Lorenzo.

The ‘83 team’s legacy still lives strong in Raleigh. The lessons learned about perseverance, focus, fundamentals, second-chances, teamwork, and, oh, yeah, help live deep within Raleighites. The 1983 story isn’t one about basketball. It’s one about life; how to live it, how to love it, and how tragically it can suddenly end.


Lorenzo Charles was driving an empty bus on westbound I-40 in moderately heavy traffic on June 27, 2011 when his bus inexplicably ran off the road and into an embankment. Charles’ life ended instantly, adding more complexity to the Cardiac Pack story. I erected a small monument to #43 today at that site ( map it ). It stands as a symbol that Lorenzo’s legacy survives. He may have completed a miracle in far away Albuquerque, but that spirit we all had in 30 years ago today still survives right here in Raleigh, especially when we need a little help.

…The Cinderella Team has done it…The glass slipper fit…The Wolfpack has won the National Championship!


Pondering Greensboro’s Future

Growing up in Raleigh I’ve had several occasions to do things in Greensboro, especially in the Coliseum area. During my lifetime Greensboro seemed to get all of the great concerts, got great stores before Raleigh, and got to host the ACC Tournament. For many, many years there were real reasons to not only visit Greensboro, but to live there over Raleigh.

Greensboro was a thriving mill town in the first half of last century, which led to the prolific growth of gorgeous classic neighborhoods. Hayes Barton is the bastard child of Irving Park in that regard, but even in the middle income areas there is a prodigious number of houses that were built before Suburbia kicked in. In that era Greensboro invested smartly in their road system, implementing many Wade Avenue type arteries around the older parts of the city. Around Greensboro’s city streets, traffic problems really only exist out in the Suburbian Battleground Avenue, a US1 North-esque sole artery north out of the city. When I-85 was planned, it was a no-brainer to include Durham and Greensboro, as they were thriving, productive cities, unlike Raleigh, the sleepy government town. As Raleigh quickly grew through the 70s and 80s, the two cities were relatively the same size and seemed to have a remarkable number of similarities.

We went to Greensboro for the Friday evening session of the ACC Tournament. Knowing that the Coliseum food is expensive and terrible, we opted to stop at a gas station for beer and stop at a downtown restaurant for take out before tailgating before the game.

While driving around downtown on a beautiful Friday afternoon we got to see downtown Greensboro at its most vibrant. “Dull” probably exaggerates the experience. I was stunned by the comparative lack of interesting restaurants, the lack of downtown bars, and the overall lack of people. There is definitely a vibe in downtown Raleigh, and there is definitely no vibe in Greensboro. This was the first time that it really struck me how much further along downtown Raleigh’s vitality is than Greensboro’s. The number of young people making something to do, creating a sense of place, and moving the city forward is just, scant. The difference is quite palpable.

The point isn’t to beat Raleigh’s chest and flame Greensboro at all . Rather, it struck me on this trip; where is Greensboro headed? Ultimately the I-85 spine will keep all of the cities on the string in fabulous shape. Asheville and Wilmington will exist as creative outposts, and the rest of the state will become severely depressed. I like to call the string of cities the “Carolina Crescent”. Charlotte, Greensboro, Durham, and Raleigh will be linked by better and better rail service, and the spine will be a magnet for all important growth moving forward. Much like our current thinking of the Triangle, the crescent will eventually be thought of as a “macrometro” as transportation improves.

So Greensboro has that going for it. The tech and information job push that is filling Raleigh’s sails currently will continue for a good while, but we have to be prepared for another wave; a wave that could change the economics of the city as much as the exodus of the textile industry changed Greensboro and Burlington.

The Triangle is the educational and technological center of the state. It has a strong Liberal voice with a strong interest in environment and humanism. Charlotte will continue to be the strongest financial center in the state, and seems to be the Conservative core of the state. What identity will Greensboro develop? Will industries polarize their presence in North Carolina to Charlotte and/or Raleigh and skip Greensboro even more than ever? It’s looking that way, and the lack of an interesting market sector to ages 25 to 35 has to be the deepest concern for Greensboro in the next 50 years. Much like Richmond, Greensboro stands as a city of yesterday, with no ascertainable uniqueness to tomorrow’s economy. Its future is seemingly more loaded with questions than with answers.

* * *

Oh, BTW, we got food to go from OPA!, the Greek restaurant. The lettuce from the salad was basically from a food service, the olive oil they used was cheap, the pita bread for my wife’s sandwich was stale, the marinade for my chicken kabob was extremely uninteresting, my accompanying vegetables were bland, and my platter did not come with pita bread. This restaurant definitely needs to pick up a copy of The Grecian Plate (Durham Greek Orthodox Church’s cookbook)! An astonishingly better meal for the same price can be had a Taverna Agora ; just so you know!


Download Your Favorite ACC Football Schedule

football Yesterday the ACC released the complete schedule for the upcoming football season. In typical fashion, gogoraleigh has compiled the schedules into formats that are easy to import into almost all calendar applications. Included are not only downloadable files for the UNC, NCSU, and Duke schedules, but also files for the entire ACC conference schedule.

Google Calendar users will find that the existing feed for each of these schedules has been updated, so there is no need change anything if you are already subscribed.

Note: TV has not had a chance to affect the schedule, so the dates are not final and times are not set. ACCFootballSched

top -->