Jon Dawson: Virginia is for Bryan Hanks

Jon Dawson: Virginia is for Bryan Hanks

Bryan Hanks (left) pictured with his stylist Jonathan Massey at a Richard Simmons’ annual Cabo Wabo Birthday Bash in 2018 / Photo by Interpol

You know him, you love him, if you're in a different time zone you can set your watch by him — the indecipherable Bryan Hanks.

Along with his duties as Editor of Neuse News, Hanks is also president of the North Carolina chapter of the Virginia Cavaliers fan club. He's also the treasurer, secretary and — prior to April 8, 2019 — the sole member.

Those of you who've followed Hanks since his days as a freelance writer for Portable Restroom Operator Magazine know he's routinely written about his love for University of Virginia sports programs. Although he's never actually been to Virginia and had to have it pointed out to him on a map during a recent panel discussion, Hanks has been a true orange fan since the days of Ralph Sampson and Terry Holland.

I’ve always found it odd that Hanks couldn't find a college team in, say, North Carolina to root for. If UNC, Duke or N.C. State are too obvious, then why not Wake Forest or East Carolina? In his usual state of dress, Hanks is routinely mistaken for Petey The Pirate or a Demon Deacon.  

Hanks' inexplicable love for UVa morphed into newsroom folklore over the years. Legend has it that after a failed tryout for the Tar Heel cheerleading squad, Hanks hopped in his Yugo and drove blindly through the night while blasting Air Supply’s Greatest Hits album until his car broke down in front of the UVa campus.

Within minutes, hordes of faculty, staff and students approached Hanks and offered their help in his time of need. Within an hour, his car had been towed free of charge back to his home in North Carolina.

When questioned about his incident, a member of the UVa staff (who wished to remain anonymous) stated "we needed to get that heap of a car away from campus as soon as possible; we're trying to encourage students to go to school here, not scare them away."

As for this year's national championship, with UNC running out of gas a few games in and State not making the cut, I had very little reason to pay attention to the Final Four. I was glad UVa was successful, if for no other reason than they represented the Atlantic Coast Conference of yore.

The ACC was perfect when it consisted of eight teams. Now, some schools only play once a season and Notre Dame and Louisville aren't even on the coast. And what on earth is Boston College doing in the ACC? It's Tobacco Road, not Beantown Alley. Barbecue and chowder do not mix.

As you may have read in these pages Psycho A/V Monthly, Hanks has three televisions set up on the same wall - usually with a different sporting event going on each screen. Occasionally, there's a mix-up with the half-dozen remote controls, resulting in the odd mis-routed flight out of nearby airports.

But for a guy who sometimes gets lost making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Hanks can usually put on his Morpheus outfit and successfully change the channels.

UVa’s basketball coach is Tony Bennett, who I must say is a born multi-tasker. How a man of his age can keep up a busy touring/recording schedule while coaching a college basketball team to a national championship is mighty impressive.

UVa Coach Tony Bennett performs the Duke Ellington classic Caravan with former UVa forward Lee Raker on bass. / YouTube

After the game, Hanks' social media feeds were filled with congratulations from all over, because, well, he's the only Virginia fan most people know.

To those of you who are now jumping on the UVa bandwagon, beware: If Bryan Hanks sees you walking around in a Virginia T-shirt, he's going to ask for some credentials. He's going to ask who was the starting center for UVa in 1993, who the coach was and who was in charge of the team's towels.

Anyone not knowing the answer to these questions must forfeit their Virginia sportswear and resume rooting for Duke.

Jon Dawson's humor columns are published weekly by NeuseNews.com. Contact Jon at jon@neusenews.com and www.jondawson.com.

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