The coldest and craziest ACC Tournament ever…(Must read to believe)

Posted by Andy Durham on March 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

I can’t even give you the exact year and that probably makes the entire story even better, but it had to be back around the 1995-1996 range and I might just want to forget that weekend, but it is still etched into my memories and will be from now until Oprah Winfrey or Charlie Sheen, take over as the ACC Commissoner for life…..

As I was saying, the year was around 1995 and the tournament was in Charlotte that year and I watched the Friday night games, on the big-screen TV’s at the Players Sports Bar, over on West Market Street….

The crazy thing was, it started raining that night and it was a cold rain….My weekend plans included working at a baseball card show, at the Holiday Inn Four Seasons…..The show was set to start on Saturday morning and everyone was excited, because the special guest for the show was going to be none other than baseball Hall of Famer, Gaylord Perry……

The old spit-baller was coming to town and so was the inclement weather, as by Saturday morning, that cold rain from Friday night, had started to freeze….I jumped into my Nissan Sentra and made it over to the Koury Convention Center and introduced former San Francisco Giant pitcher Gaylord Perry and started making announcements, for the Charles Daily-run baseball card show….

We all kept our eyes glued to the big-screen TV’s in the convention center and all those in attendance got a big shock, when the lights went out at the Charlotte Coliseum….Power failure…..The ice from the freezing rain had started to take effect and the temperatures outside had dropped into the 20’s…..Everything was becoming a solid sheet of ice, but the card show had to go on….Many dealers from out of town, had made their way to Greensboro, to be a part of the show….

They got the power problems worked out at the ACC Tournament in Charlotte, but that was only the beginning of the loss of power…..When the baseball card show was done for the day at 6pm, I went outside to the Four Seasons parking lot and jumped in my Nissan and got ready to start the car, but it wouldn’t crank/turn over…..The battery was dead and the car wouldn’t start…..

By now, the roads were in terrible shape and there was no way I was going to be able to find someone crazy enough to come get me in that weather….So, I started to use some of my own power and took off on foot….I’d walk home and I did, about 5-6 miles in snow and ice……It made sense to stop at Wendy’s along the way and get something to eat and I did that too…..

I finished the trip from High Point Road down to Pleasant Garden Road, but as I was walking through the neighborhoods and as I got closer to my home, the crazy thing was, I didn’t see many lights…..When I got in the house, it was cold and there was No Power…..(Too much ice on the trees and the lines were down.)

Dead on the power and no lights and heat tonight on this Special ACC Tournament Weekend….I know I got some rest/sleep, but I sure can’t remember it now, but the next morning, Sunday morning, I got up and it was real cold, but at least the sun was shining….I got dressed and I had to make the trip back to the Koury Convention Center, for day two of the baseball card show….No car, cause it was still up at the Four Seasons parking lot with a dead battery…..

My neighbor, God rest his soul, had working transportation, and he gave me a lift back up to the Four Seasons Town Centre and back to the card show we go…..I am surviving this cold and crazy weekend of the ACC Tournament pretty good, so far…..The show ran until 5pm on Sunday afternoon and then I went out and one of the security guards, gave me a battery jump-start and when I got my car started, I then drove over to the other side of town and got a brand new battery at the Battleground Automotive……

Got something else to eat on the way home, and then arrived back home in the cold of the night, with the temps dipping into the low 20’s and headed toward the teens and found out for the second night in a-row, still No Power……The ACC Basketball Tournament had ended and so had my source of electricity….I couldn’t even tell you who won the tournament that year, but I can tell you that with the thought of no heat or lights for the second straight night, I headed on up to the Ramada on South Elm-Eugene Street and got me a room for the night….Today, that same motel is the Landmark Inn and back then it could have easily passed for the Waldorf Astoria, cause I needed a warm place to sleep……

This had to be coldest and craziest ACC Tournament ever, with no car/dead battery, no heat, no lights and then finally on Monday afternoon, the power came back on……

The coldest and craziest ACC Tournament ever??????

I’d sure say so………

*****An interesting note on Gaylord Perry from wikipedia*****
Like most pitchers, Perry was not renowned for his hitting ability, and in his sophomore season of 1963(with the San Francisco Giants), his manager Alvin Dark is said to have joked, “They’ll put a man on the moon before he hits a home run.” There are other variants on the story, but either way, on July 20, 1969, just an hour after the Apollo 11 spacecraft carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon, Perry hit the first home run of his career.


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