Published: Jan 12, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Jan 12, 2013 05:45 PM
I have been hard at work for the past month booking a spring tour of the Midwest for my rocknroll band.
This requires countless hours online, identifying venues and sending e-mails, most of which are never returned, in the hope that one out of every 10 or 12 bars in each city might write back and confirm a show.
I rarely hear back from anyone, period, let alone with what a polite person might call regrets. Thats just the way it works if youre a touring band. But a couple of weeks ago, I received this message from a venue in Louisville, Ky., where I was trying to schedule a show for the first weekend in April.
Thanks for getting in touch from the city of medicine, always good to hear from NC folks. Being from Carolina, Im sure you know that 4/6 is the NCAA tournament semi-finals for all things basketball and were not booking during that time. In fact, were surrounded by top teams (UofL, UK, IU) and their fans so cant even recommend anywhere that would be worth your while. Another time, perhaps, and best of luck to you.
No, actually, I, uh, didnt know.
This booking agent was far too kind to utter them, but I suspect the words duh and you idiot came to mind. What kind of North Carolinian are you, trying to play music during the Final Four? I am a terrible, terrible one, thats what kind.
I have lived in the Triangle for almost nine years, and I have to admit it: I havent picked a side.
I have a graduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill, so maybe I should be a Tar Heel fan. But Im a card-carrying Dookie now, and since my student ID gets me cheap tickets to the movies and Music in the Gardens, maybe I owe it to Coach K to root for the Blue Devils. But, then, I watched Raymond Felton, Sean May and Marvin Williams win the 2005 NCAA championship during my first spring on Carolinas red clay, so thats got to count for something right?
Not so much. There were way more important things going on in my life that year. I had relocated 750 miles from my native New England. My youngest daughter was born. I was in the middle of a demanding graduate program. And, more importantly for this particular topic, during the previous autumn, my beloved Boston Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years, in case nobody told you. We in Red Sox Nation are pretty shy about our team, you know. We dont like to talk much. Also, probably nobody mentioned that our New England Patriots won the Super Bowl that winter too, their third NFL championship within a span of five years. ESPN called it a dynasty, but I dont know. We dont like to brag. We have this quarterback named Tom. Oh, never mind. You dont want to hear about him. Youve got Christian Laettner.
I dont know if its this way for most people, but I grew up watching the Patriots, Celtics, Bruins and Red Sox, and Im just not sure theres room in my heart for any additional team loyalties. Dont we all cheer for the teams we loved as kids? My wife went to ECU, and so did her parents, and in their family, its all Pirates, all the time. It has nothing to do with the quality or strategy or celebrity of pro sports vs. the amateurs its a family thing. Boston pro sports are a place of bonding for Mom, Dad, my sibs and me.
Some people move to the Triangle, and they figure out how to become Tar Heel or Blue Devil or Wolfpack fans, but I have to wonder whether they were ever fans of anything else to being with.
The Carolina Hurricanes are a great mystery to me, because theyve managed to build a fierce fan base apparently out of thin air. When I was a kid in Lowell, Mass., they were the Hartford Whalers just down I-84 from Sturbridge Village. I figure a bunch of relocated Yankees must have embraced the Canes once they got down here, but what about the Islanders or Penguins or Flyers or whoever it was they used to root for wherever they came from? I mean, the ponds dont even freeze down here. How the heck do you become a hockey fan? And what the heck do Rick Flair and that hottie Storm Squad have to do with hockey?
I dont know: I guess when it comes to sports, Ill always be a New England kid.
I did eventually find a bar in Louisville that would let us play some music during the Final Four. Hopefully, there are some other people out there who also dont care about college basketball.Jesse James DeConto is a writer and musician in Durham. Find more of his work at jessejamesdeconto.com and pinkertonraid.com.
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