What are you doing until Saturday? That’s right, nothing. Just like the rest of us degenerates you’re surfing the ‘net looking for more videos and gifs of Torres’ homer or you’re trying to banter with that random Stanford alum at work who hasn’t watched any parts of their sports since when Andrew Luck first begin showing he never really cared about football.
A week is always a long time to wait between big games so while we scrub the block S from memory, have nightmares of THAT tree, and regularly remind ourselves that “Cardinal” is already plural, in your free time there are some NC State alums to note in some...let’s say obscure roles...that are also vying for championships.
Only Slightly Obscure: Nate McMillan, Head Coach Atlanta Hawks
NBA GMS and owners are brilliant. They’re so rich they’ve got to be smart, right? I mean you had a proven head coach who had taken injury-laden teams to the playoffs consistently each year and, in a weird bubble format, loses to the eventual conference champion and you fire him. Makes sense! You can just hire some assistant who has never been a head coach on that level for the hope that his mutant power is healing injured superstars and tailspin to miss the playoffs which leads to firing him as well! And you wonder why the Indiana Pacers are who they are today.
Nate is proving right now what a terrible mistake they made. Now, being the head coach of an NBA team isn’t THAT obscure, but for NC State sustained success in the league has been few and far between for over a decade now...that, and many folks have tuned out the NBA over the past few years. At the time of this writing, Nate took over a Hawks team that fired their coach early in the season (after following the same hiring script as the Pacers) and just casually, you know, have them tied 2-2 with the number 1 seed Sixers in the divisional round of the NBA playoffs. Such a run should guarantee that Nate will be a head coach in that league for as long as he wants.
Now, being honest, this isn’t written with any illusions that even if the Hawks win the series they match up well against the Bucks or that Cerberus in Brooklyn in the Eastern Conference Finals, but I believe Nate played for a coach that had strong opinions on situations just like these.
Somewhat Obscure: Charlotte Flair, WWE Superstar
Ok so try to fall on your back right now...just try it. (Please don’t try it). How about a backflip off an elevated surface on to people? Or falling off a ladder through a table? Pro-wrestling is not a competition...its theatre, its violent ballet, it’s absurd, ridiculous at times, embarrassing at others but if you can’t concede that these folks are amazing athletes, tireless performers and that their (predetermined) success doesn’t mean something to a certain segment of the world then I can’t deal with you like Kevin Keatts and a milkshake. Charlotte Flair, the daughter of...I mean you see the last name...transferred from App and graduated from NC State in the 2000s back when her name was simply Ashley.
While her pops is an adopted North Carolinian, Flair the Younger was born and raised here, got into the industry as a former volleyball player, and has been one of the premier athletes of any gender in that business. Her skill set, her style, her look, and her character work are starting to get the notice of Hollywood, landing her a starring role in an upcoming remake (of a remake) Walking Tall...which is weird because pro-wrestlers never find success, recognition or worldwide fame in film. While a limousine riding, jet flying, kiss stealing, wheeling-dealing son of a gun is tied for the record of wrestling world championships at 16, Charlotte Flair, Wolfpacker, is not far behind going for her 13th this Sunday on PPV.
Very Obscure: Thomas Harper, Movie Trivia Competitor (Star Wars Division)
The poker boom was one of those really weird times you could only explain if you lived through it, like a pipe burst somewhere and we were inhaling fumes. Suddenly everyone was trying to pretend they knew how to bluff in Texas Hold ‘Em. Films like Rounders and Casino Royale helped supplement it, while the media began to cover poker like an intense competition all of which came to a head when ESPN took the reins and really began promoting it like a sport.
Same with the kids at the Scripps National Spelling Bee or now with the grown adults in E-sports...these are real bouts that strain its competitors mentally, emotionally if not physically. So why would movie trivia be any different? A few years ago movie critics/comedians Kristian Harloff (FSU alum) and Mark Ellis (WF alum) started the Movie Trivia Schmoedown which went from a fun, bar room type trivia game to a full-blown heavily competitive league that now has nation-wide sold-out live shows, teams, championships, prizes and requires hours upon hours of study to be successful. Divisions exist for all types of movies and our fellow Wolfpacker “The Major” Thomas Harper is currently next in line for a shot at the Star Wars Championship after fighting his way through a grueling tournament.
Similar to UFC, the league thrives on personality, characters, and rivalries with Harper using his real background in the military as the basis for his somewhat stoic, unflappable, by the book performance to have successfully answered some of the most difficult questions about 12 movies you’ve ever seen. Harper’s date for his title shot is still TBD but in a league littered with other ACC alums (especially an uncomfortable amount of Florida State folks) know that he hasn’t forgotten where he came from.