Countdown to Graduation – Week of April 6,2009

Countdown to Graduation
One senior scrambles to cram in all things Carolina before heading out into the real world.

posted April 8,2009

Final Four Game Day

Honestly, it wasn't a day I hoped for. It was a day I expected. That's just how it's come to be as a Carolina fan, we're all spoiled. And I think that's probably a bad thing. A year ago I was devastated to the point of tears by an embarrassing UNC loss to Kansas. As all my friends were still laughing and getting ready to head out to Franklin St., I just vacantly stared into space and wondered why everyone wasn't as upset as me. Like I've said before, I might let all this affect me too much. But, it's that kind of emotional investment that makes the wins that much better, no pain, no gain, right?

UNC v. Villanova wasn't a game I had predicted in my brackets, I didn't even know where Villanova was until about 9 p.m. Saturday night. One thing I did know was the name Scottie Reynolds. He was who the Tar Heels needed to look out for; it was he who made me nervous.

The plan for the day was to watch the game somewhere on Franklin. I knew every bar and restaurant was going to be packed, so I badgered my friends to get somewhere really early. Ryan and I headed to Italian Pizzeria III at 1 p.m. for an 8:47 game. That is what I call early, maybe I was a little overanxious considering we were about the only people in there until 4 p.m., but we still had a good time! My roommate Heather met us there at about 2, and then our friend Nick met us there at 4. We paced ourselves with some amazingly priced pitchers of Yuengling and some delicious sub sandwiches.  The time actually flew by and I was happy I was waiting there instead of anxiously pacing at home.  Around 5 and 6 more of our friends showed up and the rest of the place was getting packed. Right before game time the fire marshal came by and said no one else was allowed in and also said there wouldn't be any more beer served. I'll let you guess which one of those rules were followed more closely. It was pretty gratifying to watch people drop by at 7 p.m. and glance longingly into the restaurant.  There was a lot of, "Take that, I've been here since 1 p.m.!" from me and Ryan. One girl even came up to us and had the audacity to ask if we were staying for the UNC game. We tried to be nice with our answer, but c'mon, what did she think we were going to say?! Also, a quick aside. The guys that work at IP3 are great. It's been one of my favorite hangouts on Franklin for a while because you can't really beat the dynamite combination of beer and pizza, but I especially loved it Saturday.  Everyone that worked there was dressed from head to toe in Carolina gear and while my friends and I were the only ones in the restaurant, we kept pumped by alternating TAR! HEELS! cheers with the guys there.

I was a little conflicted about the first game. Honestly, I wanted Michigan State to win because a matchup with UCONN really scared me. But, if MSU could beat UCONN wouldn't that be a scary matchup as well?  I just didn't want to root too hard for either team because then I would feel bad if that team ended up beating us.  It's hard to watch a game without pulling for a side, so I just tried to do it quietly.  It was a pretty good game with it being so close at halftime, but maybe UCONN finally got what was coming to them with their recruiting practices (just had to throw that jab in there.)

I don't think I need to write too much about the game, I'm sure you all saw at least part of it. Though it looked like we had control from the beginning, I never felt comfortable until the final seconds ticked off the clock. The atmosphere in IP3 was electrifying and Tar Heel chants filled the room. After everyone stood up to sing the alma mater arm in arm, the march to Franklin St. began. I wouldn't really consider it "rushing" Franklin St. as much as just getting pushed around a lot on the way to a bar. I didn't feel too comfortable celebrating because we hadn't won the championship just yet. The Franklin St. feel was a lot different than I remembered it as freshman after the Duke game. The only way I can describe it is as a Carolina blue mosh pit made even more dangerous by the fires. I don't want to sound like a prude because I did have a good time, but flip flops definitely weren't the best choice in that situation. I took note of that for Monday.

After a couple of minutes in the mosh, we decided to head to Bub O'Malley's for some foosball and general merriment. It was at this point that waking up at 8 a.m. and then spending over 10 hours in a pizza joint started to get to me. I was ready to hit the hay, but had to wait around a while because no one else really felt the same. Last call finally came and everyone spilled into the streets. It was there that I saw one of the most ridiculous things I've ever witnessed. We were walking down Rosemary St. and heard a loud sort of ripping sound. It was a guy in a big black SUV who thought it was a brilliant idea to drive off a small brick ledge out of the parking lot. My guess was that he had about eight drinks too many because I doubt that's a place many people mistake for an exit. He was completely stuck in the center of this brick wall with no chance of getting out of it either way. About 20 to 30 guys, also with more than enough alcohol in their system, rushed to his rescue, each with a more brilliant idea than the next. What it ended up being was a bunch of guys jumping up and down on this guy's car while he continued to press a useless gas pedal. The cops finally came and I pushed my friends onward. All I can say is at least he got stuck and wasn't out terrorizing the roads somewhere.

Sunday consisted of me just waiting for Monday. By now, we all know what happened, and I can't wait to write a post about a night that will forever be emblazed in my mind.

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