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Bailey's Take on the GMAC Bowl

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, December 19, 2001

By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Bowl Day Conjures Up Memories of Rusty
Razor at Hooters and a Game for the Ages


My first ever bowl game as a fan or as a broadcaster came with the Peach Bowl after the 1991 season. Perhaps, then, it’s unfair to compare that magical time with anything else in Pirate football history.

I guess it was just so fresh at the time. WNCT-TV carried the “Bill Lewis Show”, so I had a chance to travel to a lot of the games. We traveled with the team to Atlanta, and spent the entire week with the squad.

That bowl week was especially long. It was great fun, but by the time the Pirates and the Wolfpack kicked it off, it felt like we had been in Georgia for a month.

Everything about the Peach Bowl was first class. We stayed in the Peachtree Marriott and stayed on something like the 103rd floor. We attended all of the activities that the team participated in. It was some kind of fun.

That season I had a chance to get close to several of the players. In fact, when the bowl talk first started I scoffed a bit, and told Hunter Gallimore that the team could shave off my mustache if the Pirates went to a bowl.

You have to remember that this wasn’t just any mustache. I have trouble growing facial hair, so I’ll never have a beard. But I did slowly cultivate the “stache” when I was in college. I had the hairy lip from the fall of 1980 until that December night at Hooters in Atlanta, when I made good on my promise.

Hooters hosted both East Carolina and North Carolina State to the restaurant that night. I really didn’t think there were enough chickens in the nation to feed those teams all of those wings. Halfway through the night, the Pirate players produced a rusty razor and a bar stool.

I sat in the front of the restaurant and watched each Pirate come by and take one swipe with that rusty razor. It was so painful. I somehow held in that tear. That’s how painful it was.

I’m probably lucky that I didn’t get any scar tissue that night. To his credit, Coach Lewis followed me into the bathroom to make sure that I was ok. I was bleeding in four places, but it was all in good fun.

To this day, though, I don’t know where that rusty razor came from. The players had a good time, and I have never grown the mustache back, in honor of that squad.

The game itself lived up to all of the hype. I remember how cold it was. The weatherman on the local news had called for a high in the 60’s, so I didn’t dress with warmth in mind. I guarantee you that the temperatures barely made it out of the 30’s during that Peach Bowl game.

I remember looking at the scoreboard, and seeing that 34-17 deficit. I remember that faint chant, so very faint to start. “We believe,” chanted two or three Pirate faithful.

Two or three turned into two or three hundred, to two or three thousand to maybe twenty to thirty thousand as the fourth quarter continued.

It was some kind of finish. Luke Fisher caught the game winning touchdown pass, and the Pirates had pulled off the miraculous comeback.

I still think there was a higher power at work when the Wolfpack missed that final field goal. It was if to say, this was too good of a game to end in a tie.

Here’s hoping the Pirates make some more bowl memories later tonight down in Mobile!

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02/23/2007 01:20:00 AM

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