(That last one's almost as important as the second one.)
At one point after the game I ran into a familiar face, Turner Walston with GoHeels.com, and figured I'd just tail him around. "Gotta follow someone who knows what they're doing," I said to him.
"Yeah, me too," he said, laughing.
That's kind of the point of this whole thing, right? None of us really know what we're doing. We're just along for the ride.
The last time UNC made it to a Final Four was in 2009. In 2009 I was a sophomore in high school in a town called Sanford that most of you have probably never heard of. And if you asked me then who Dean Smith was, I would probably have told you I've never heard of him.
I hate to admit that, but it's probably true. I can happily tell you that I've since figured it out, and I'm a better person for it.
Still, though, many people have come through this University without the same opportunity I've stumbled into. Certainly there have been better writers who have come through The Daily Tar Heel who deserved the chance to cover a national championship more than me. I'm just lucky.
I'm lucky I wasn't escorted out of the stadium for good by a member of the United States Secret Service when I was trying to figure out (and failing) how to get in. I'm lucky an Oklahoma reporter left his seat — directly at halfcourt, third row — after the first game and never came back so I could steal it and get a better view. I'm lucky I didn't get caught.
I'm lucky I just happened to be in the same class as Marcus Paige, Brice Johnson and Joel James as they finally seem to be accomplishing all of their goals.
Coach Roy Williams probably summed it up best in his presser after the game:
"I couldn't be having a more fantastic ride than I'm having right now."
We're all lucky to be along for that ride. But for Paige, Johnson and James — and me and everyone else who only has a month left in Chapel Hill — there's just one more stop.
And there's no telling what that stop will bring.
The only thing I know is that it's been a pretty fun ride so far.