In case you haven’t noticed

June 19, 2008

I’m not blogging here anymore.  But I do post something about 5 times a week here: http://zackmansfield.com


A Carolina Victory

February 11, 2008

Sunday night was something special. 

For the first 35+ minutes, it was something special for our IPTAY friends in Orange.  But sudenly that something special turned something sour in a matter of minutes.

Danny Green 3. Turnover. Missed free throw.  Danny Green “why are you shooting a 3…NICE SHOT”.  Turnover. Psycho T.  This was the recipe for the turnaround.

How many of us thought it could happen?  Be honest.

Certainly we’ve seen it all before.  FSU in 1993.  The Duke game in 2005. 

But we’re far more likely to remember the defeats than the losses.  In our minds it’s Harold “the Show” Arceneaux.  Or Miles Simon.  Carolina Killers.

But think how it must feel for them.  Those who don’t understand what it’s like to wear the blue, and know that you’re never out of it. 

Sunday night was something special.  It proved that when battered and bruised, there is still some magic in the argyle. 

There’s the unmistakable aura that emanates from the rafters.  And legends making their mark.  Legends on the court.  And a legend on the bench.

There’s Tyler being Tyler.  There’s ol’ Roy pleading for “just one stop”.  There’s a senior named Q whose huge heart prevails.

And there’s The Streak.  53-0.  Somehow, someway, there’s still The Streak.

Sunday night was truly something special.


Durham Herald-Sun: Welcome to the 21st Century

January 29, 2008

When will local newspapers and those stuck in the “old” web ever learn. I tried to read a story about UNC basketball today in the local newspaper, the Durham Herald-Sun. I’d forgotten that every single story that you try to read on the DHS requires you to have a user name and password.

So instead of seeing my story, I got this screen.

dhs.jpg

Sure, I could have taken the time to create a user name and password. But undoubtedly I would have forgotten the password and also would have been hit with all kinds of Herald-Sun “offer spam”. It’s bad enough when old guard news/content companies require a login for premium content – and much worse when you have to do so to get a simple article.


I never made it past the inane password wall – no pageviews from these eyeballs – potential revenue thrown away b/c an old school newspaper company can’t reinvent itself. Remember Herald-Sun – open and free always wins.

It’s not 1998 anymore…


Merry Carolina Christmas

December 27, 2007

Loyal readers of UNC’s official sports website, www.tarheelblue.com, know that every Tuesday the site publishes the Tar Heel Mailbag. Since Christmas fell on a Tuesday this year, THB solicited stories from readers about their favorite Carolina Christmas memories.

My mom pointed out the call for UNC stories, and we immediately knew that we had a memory that was perfect in every way. So I spent a few minutes a couple weeks ago recounting Christmas 2006. When we woke up on Christmas morning a few days ago, it was a great treat to see our story on Tarheelblue, along with the link to the video. Thus far, more than 1900 people have viewed the video!

I’ve copied the whole entry below. The Mail Bag can be found here. The video can be found here.


Like many Carolina families, ours has a long lineage of Tar Heel roots. Counting my wife, parents, and sister, we are 100% Carolina blue blood, having all matriculated through Chapel Hill. After the kids moved out of the house, my parents decided to take on another challenge and hosted a foreign exchange student for a school year.As luck would have it, our new “brother,” Vlado Milanovic, turned out to be a basketball fanatic. Through the wonders of satellite television, Vlado had grown up watching hundreds of NBA games with this family, right from his home in Bar, Montenegro. When he arrived in Greensboro, NC for the start of school, Vlado had understandable trouble with the intricacies of the English language – but he could name the starting point guard for every NBA team!

After only a few weeks in North Carolina, Vlado had been indoctrinated in all things Carolina. And while he enjoyed football Saturdays at Kenan, you could really see his eyes light up when he learned about the rich history of Carolina basketball. It wasn’t long before Vlado would fall in love with Lawson’s quickness and Hansbrough’s tenacity. And like any true Tar Heel, he developed a healthy disdain for our friends in Durham who wear a darker shade of blue. As basketball season ticket holders, my parents were able to take Vlado to several UNC games, where he was able to experience the pageantry and passion that make college basketball such a special game.

Yet there was one game that was impossible to find tickets for – UNC vs. Duke. We took special care to explain to Vlado that a Duke ticket is like gold in Chapel Hill, and that extra tickets just didn’t exist. Yet, through a little Christmas magic (and a whole lot of luck!), my mom was somehow able to secure one extra pass to the coveted event. So on Christmas Day the whole family could hardly wait for the big moment – when Vlado would open his final gift. As he opened the gift wrap and then stared in disbelief, I was worried that the young guy was going to hyperventilate. In his utter excitement he had seemingly forgotten to breathe – until he was finally able to scream with joy, “North Carolina/Duke game YESSSSSSS!!!!!!”

Needless to say, it was a Christmas moment this family will never forget. Words will never do it justice – that’s why we’re so glad we caught it on video. You can see our unforgettable Carolina Christmas memory here.


Churchill: Imperfect Man, but a Man with a Mission

December 19, 2007

I just finished reading a biography on Churchill and was fascinated to learn a ton about a man who I previously knew nothing about. I only knew of Churchill the strong Prime Minister who stood up and made a country believe they could defeat the Nazis.  I had no idea of Churchill the soldier, writer, the loser (in elections), the spendathrift, and the painter.

Yet by far the most intriguing part of Churchill’s life is seeing how all of his prior failures and experiences played a part in shaping the man who was ultimately THE statesman of the 20th century.  Churchill’s finest days were undoubtedly in the crisis of the century, WWII.  He would later describe how he felt,

“All my past life had been a preparation for this hour and this trial and I was sure I would not fail.”

This, from a man who had failed quite frequently (especially in WWI as an officer).  Churchill was not perfect.  But he was never afraid to believe in his abilities and to lead others.  I love how the author summed it up:

Churchill had many faults but he had great virtues; courage, a clear sense of right and wrong, a determination not to compromise with tyranny, a belief that right would triumph in the end. Above all, he had a willingness to lead, to take the initiative in this fast-spreading war and fight it out to the end.


Oliver Weiss, Hokies in Men’s Soccer Final Four

December 14, 2007

6 years ago to the day, Oliver Weiss was the top assistant coach of the UNC men’s soccer team that squared off against Stanford in the national semifinals.  That team included yours truly as low man on the totem pole, a walk-on who found the field only twice during the season.

I’ll never forget that night.  It was brutally cold in Columbus, Ohio at Crew Stadium.  The 30+ mph winds didn’t help the mood, and neither did the fact that Stanford was absolutely brilliant for about 65 minutes.  They scored a 1st half goal and had us on our heels (no pun intended!) the whole time.  When they scored a 2nd midway through half #2, I distinctly remember looking at a teammate and saying, “well, it’s been a great year.  Final Four is not bad.”

And then there was a bit of hope.  David Testo hit a scremer from 35 yds out and we were suddenly only a goal behind.  Little more than a minute later we had won a free kick in the Stanford end – the cross led to a header, which deflected violently off the crossbar, only to be finished superbly by the skillful Matt Crawford.

We had gone from 2-0 down and dead in the water to all level in the matter of minutes.

It would take much longer to finally settle things.  In the 4th OT, Mike Gell got behind the Stanford defense off a punt from our GK, and was able to poke the winning goal home.

A truly golden goal.  Utter euphoria.  And an understanding among everyone wearing Carolina blue that we had just experienced something that would stay with us for a lifetime.

Sunday’s final lacked the drama but was no less exciting – a convincing 2-0 win over Indiana made us National Champions.  I remember running around the field wearing my championship hat and shirt, covered in confetti, throughly amazed at what had happened.

It was not long after that day that Oliver Weiss left to become the head coach at Virginia Tech.  He told us all then that VaTech was a “sleeping giant” -  a school that was waiting to become a powerhouse.

None of us doubted that Oli could make it happen.  I’m not sure anyone thought it would happen this quickly.  Weiss will lead his team against Wake Forest today in the national semifinal – 6 years to the day after the magical night in Columbus.  Welcome home Oliver – I hope you’re able to recapture the spirit of 2001.


Why I Write…And Why I Want to Write More

December 4, 2007

Reading this post by Fred Wilson made me think about writing.

I’ve always been a writer. Check that – I’ve always liked to write. Growing up, I don’t think I realized what a unique trait this is. Now that I’m in the working world, I’m amazed at how many people simply hate to put thoughts to paper. To me, it’s always come fairly easily. And I’m only beginning to understand just what a blessing this is.

As much as I love to write, I’m definitely not a writer. You see, I’ve tinkered with the idea of trying to formalize my passion for scribing into something that would loosely be called a profession. But the idea of writing for someone else, on their timetable, has always been completely unappealing.

I’ve found that the joy of writing, for those who’ve tried, is that it unlocks passions and emotions that one doesn’t always experience in the commotion of everyday life. In my day to day life, thoughts bounce around my head like the Mexican jumping beans that make up the static on your TV set. It’s hard to make sense of static.

But then you put pen to paper or fingers to keys, and a picture begins to appear. Perhaps it’s faint. But after dealing with static for any length of time, even a faint picture is at once exhilirating and unfulfilling, as it leaves the creator wanting more.

Blogging has become a means of relieving static in many people’s lives. It’s why I started this blog. And now blogging’s evolved, and original writing is enhanced by pictures, videos, links, quotes – any and all types of media which help to tell our story. Which is why I have this tumblog.

It’s not always easy. Many times I can’t figure out what in the world I want to write about. The things that are worth dedicating real energy to – faith, love, life itself – are so precious that I don’t want to lessen them by giving anything less than my best.

It’s then that I realize what I’ve known all along – It’s not about getting everything buttoned up or every point covered or the absolute perfect tone.

I’ll leave that to the writers.


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