I entered into the Money Bowl last night, and there I saw the great Florida State football lean, mean, passin’ machine shred Duke’s ACC hopes into scrap.
I say Money Bowl because it was the first time in many a year that I have entered into the great, gleaming gridiron realm of state-of-the-art stadium excellency that Bank of America/Panthers Stadium certainly is and will always be in the minds of Charlotteans, although they tell me that now Dallas is building one for the Cowboys that puts Charlotte’s colossal Collosseum to shame.
Yes, it hath been many a year since I saw such a bright sight as the inside of big stadium all lit up like that, because you see, I grew up down on de Mississip at Baton Rouge, where Huey Long had, back in the 30s, mustered all the mud of south Louisiana politics and all the dust of north Louisiana hot air into a brand new Tiger Stadium at LSU, where Billy Cannon ran the 97-yard kickoff return to beat Ole Miss back in ’57, and where all my people and me studied and earned degrees and all along the way went on Sat’dy nights to what was, back in the day, the shrine of Tiger football, Tiger Stadium, where I sold concessions when I was in junior high back in the 60s and then went on to actually live in that great edifice because they had made the north end of it into a dormitory that overlooked Mike the Tiger’s cage over which I would sit on the wide sill of that dorm room during freshman year, looking down at Mike’s little caged domain and listen to Abbey Road and dream about maybe leaving’ Louisiana in the broad daylight.
Which of course I did, later on, leave Louisiana after matriculation in ’73, and went to Florida where I got humiliated for driving on revoked license and then doin five days jail time, sentenced by a Judge Rasmussen, and then leaving that state, home of those crazy Seminoles and their Gator cousins and I wouldn’t give you a nickel for the whole dam state now anyway.
‘Specially after last night, and what the Seminoles did to Duke, where my son did university, and there we sat last night in the cold in the Money Bowl, with Duke Energy Tower flashing big diagonal neon stripes throught the mist in the background and Bank of America Center over there with its spiky litttle shafts of light on top and Wells Fargo-used-to-be-Wachovia-back in the day somewhere in that sparkly skyline still doin their thing out in the Golden West.
You see Charlotte is new money, not old money like New Orleans was with its Superdome, or Houston, which was old-new money and its state-of-the-art AstroDome back in the day, down where I come from, and because Charlotte is such new money, not old money like New Yawk or Boston, and so Charlotte had to erect the Panthers pantheon-home state-of-the-art or so they say in order to show the world what new money is really all about because you see the queen city has always been a wannabe and always will be, ever since the gold diggers out in California eclipsed the Carolina gold find back in 1848, when the California discovery made Carolina’s little gleaming vein look like a flash in the pan, which it actually was comparatively speaking, as it all turned out. So Charlotte had finally made it, and there we were last night sitting in the cold and watching all those Seminole fans in their maroon and gold doing their obnoxious chop chop thing and rubbin’ it in after they had absconded that chant from the native Americans and still got away with it, and it really is a case of the new money down there in Tallahassee shredding the old-new money of Duke, chopping it into smithereens, and there we were having to watch all this as the third quarter ended and Florida State waltzed into the end zone again for the umpteenth time, but then we went to Denny’s somewhere out there in the vast suburban money land and it wasn’t so bad after all, although there was no joy of course over in Durham because might the Blue Devils had struck out.
I mean Panthers Stadium is a lot like Tiger Stadium used to be back in the day, except you know, better, and also excluding what happened there last night.