One question I get a lot is, “Why doesn’t Coach Williams call more timeouts?” But another question I get a lot is, “What’s your favorite story you’ve ever written?”
Some people will tell you this is like choosing between your children. That’s not true at all. I have four children and I like even the worst of them way more than I like any story, at least most of the time. But if I absolutely, positively had to pick a favorite story, it would probably come from among these five:
Proud (April 2016): This is one of two stories I’ve ever written that received the most feedback. I’m still not really sure how it happened. When I got back to the hotel after the game, I still didn’t know what I was going to write. It took pacing around for a while and eating a meal before I had any clue. And even when I started, I wasn’t sure where it was going to finish. Basically, I think all of us wanted to commiserate after the Villanova game, and this was a way to do it.
Joel James: The Stories He Tells (November 2015): As far back as his recruiting process, when I was fortunate enough to watch him play in high school, it was obvious Joel James had a unique story. I hoped one day he would let me tell it. He didn’t have to be as honest as he was during our interview. The fact that he was enabled lots of people to get a very clear picture of some of the realities of being a college athlete, and the fact that not everyone takes it for granted.
She Lives For This (February 2014): And here’s the other story that has generated the most feedback. Meredith’s story seemed to have a profound impact on people beyond just Carolina fans, and it’s not a stretch to say this story changed my life.
Giovani Bernard: An American Tale (December 2012): It seems improbable now, but this story sat right under the nose of everyone covering UNC athletics for three years. It’s not like Gio Bernard was some anonymous third-string kicker. He was one of the best players on some of Carolina’s best teams of this century, but no one really wrote a definitive profile on him. I knew a little bit about his background when we sat down, but didn’t know how deep it went (or the ties to various players in the most famous single play in modern Tar Heel football).
The Best Days Of Your Life (March 2008): It’s very rare that a play as memorable as Danny Green dunking on Greg Paulus is a mere footnote in the postgame column. But that’s what happened in the 2008 UNC-Duke game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. There was so much going on this week around UNC, and it was amazing to watch it all come together in one 40-minute basketball game.
If you’ve got a favorite that isn’t mentioned here, let me know.