I entered the lottery and, on Feb. 25, I received an email from Carolina Athletics. I opened it with eager anticipation for my long-awaited phase one ticket.
And there it was. My golden ticket. Phase one.
Junior Sarah Rossi is also a part of Carolina Fever and received a phase one ticket by being in the top 150 of the organization. For those not familiar with Carolina Fever, students earn points for each sporting event they go to in order to gain access to tickets.
After attending countless games, her reward was here.
“It was just a sigh of relief,” she said. “All the hard work we had put into this finally paid off.”
The days ticked by until it was finally time — March 4.
My alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. and I finally made my way out of bed. Despite the early morning hour, I was excited. It was time to #beatdook.
I got to College GameDay and received my randomization band: 56597. That was the number that I was praying Coach Roy Williams would choose so I could realize my lifelong dream of being front row to watch Carolina play Duke.
College GameDay was full of signs that expressed how Carolina students felt about Grayson Allen, about this new scientific discovery that the Earth is flat and how UNC is the mitochondria of the ACC.
After an hour of cheering and waving my sign trying to get on TV so Mom and Dad could see me, the time had come to choose the randomization number.
Theo was picking.
And daggum’ it he didn’t call my number, but I wasn’t too far back.
Last year I got randomized 30 from the back so was I really complaining this time around? Nope.
I found my place in line and took a seat. I had three-and-a-half hours until I was allowed indoors and six hours until tip-off.
Junior Jessica Hoffman received a phase one ticket through Carolina Fever and had been at the Dean Dome with her friends since about 7:30 a.m.
“It’s been a lot of fun. Everybody here seems to be happy and excited,” Hoffman said. “There’s just this atmosphere of excitement, I don’t know how else to say it.”
And what an atmosphere of excitement there was.
At 5:30 p.m., they finally let us in. Students were rushing to get the best seats they could. We were the first ones in.
My seat was behind the dook bench, maybe 10 rows up.
The first thing we saw and the only person on the court warming up was none other than Justin Jackson. Every 30 minutes, herds of students began filing in, filling up the seats one by one. The crowd was growing.
Junior Nyla Numan had never been to a Duke and Carolina basketball game before, but her friend gave her a phase one ticket.
“It’s going to be the loudest I’ve ever heard it,” Numan said. “It’s going to be awesome.”
It was almost comical how any time Grayson Allen even touched the ball there was a constant booing coming from the crowd.
It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard.
But the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen may have been the five 3-pointers that Joel Berry made.
And the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced?
Well, it may have been Michael Jordan telling me that the roof is the ceiling, Nate Britt and Kennedy Meeks making the crowd (read: me) tear up during their senior speeches or it may have been rushing Franklin with thousands of Tar Heels.
Either way, it was a day I will never forget.