Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to house 200 people in our four bedroom home… but hey, it’s the National Championship game.
Myself and my seven roommates decided to host a viewing party for the game, and as I sit here writing this today I don’t regret a thing. HOWEVER, at the time I felt a little flustered. I’d be lying if I told you I remembered much of the first half, outside of a few plays, as I found myself way too preoccupied with getting everyone into our house and settled.
You see, we originally planned to host our party outside and project the game onto our house, but Mother Nature had other plans. One single look at Weather.com made our 100-plus person guest list seem a tad bit ambitious, but we persevered.
By game time, every inch of our walls and aged hardwood floors were covered by sweaty bodies with Carolina blue shirts and jerseys pasted to their bodies.
The ceiling is the roof. Lock In. Get Into It. A myriad of fake Aliexpress UNC jerseys. Every bit of UNC apparel was represented well in our home.
So again, the first half happened. The Zags looked the better side and led most of the half. At halftime moral wasn’t low, but it definitely wasn’t high.
Then the second half whistle blew. I was done with my hosting duties for the night: A lady named Carolina was calling my name. I jumped, I screamed, I questioned the refs, I felt my stomach start the ache. With two minutes left, I stood in the back of our TV room and doubted.
“This is just like last year.”
Then, the final minute happened. Once again, I wish I could have told you what transpired on the court, but the seven rows of people jumping up and down on their feet restricted that. All I knew was that UNC was about to win. Thirty seconds in real time later, it happened. The final buzzer sounded, and the North Carolina Tar Heels were redeemed.
Every single guest in our house rushed to the nearest door, with Franklin Street in their sights. I directed traffic, kind of like a runway attendant, and watched the hordes fit through the small doorways.
But that’s one of the problems with hosting: you have to clean up. So when everyone had left, me and three of my housemates threw everything into one area, turned on the appropriate lights, and locked up.
Then we ran faster than the speed of light. After what felt like five years, we reached Franklin Street. Now, I’ve been in NFL stadiums, NBA arenas, and MLB fields, and I’ve never seen more people in my entire life.
I’ve never said I love you to so many people. I’ve never high fived so many people. I’ve never ever hugged a stranger harder. It was magic.
I’ll just say it: I hugged someone so hard that their sweat filled shirt was like a juicer on my forearms. Gross, but true.
It was pure elation. Thousands of people from all around the country, heck all around the world, coming together for their one similar passion. Men hanging from telephone poles, fireworks going off, couches being lit on fire – it was madness, but the kind you can’t help but grin ear to ear over.
We were crammed, but not one single person complained. We were one, one voice, one body, singing Tar Heel praises.
All because a group of college-aged kids won a game. I will never argue with someone who finds sports inherently silly. That’s fine. But after tonight, allow me to just ignore it. There isn’t another thing on this planet that brings people together like I saw on Monday night. All for a University. All for each other.