The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday January 22nd

Office DJ: The playlist of a pure pedestrian

Assistant sports editor Hunter Nelson walks on Franklin Street on Nov. 16. Hunter is very fond of walking.
Buy Photos Assistant sports editor Hunter Nelson walks on Franklin Street on Nov. 16. Hunter is very fond of walking.

Not to offend any of the driving fanatics out there, but I personally believe the two-leg express is undefeated. 

My introduction to being a pure pedestrian came in the summer of 2015, when I was trying to build up the leg strength to dunk a basketball for the first time. To help me reach my goal, I was gifted a pair of “strength shoes” — footwear with an elevated toe design that more closely resembled a Seinfeld joke rather than a useful training accessory. 

Each day that summer, I walked through the Michigan heat — yes, it actually gets warm there during that time of year — and felt my calves tighten up in flames. I was known as “the kid with the funny shoes,” even though I still had no idea if they were getting me closer to throwing it down. When I came back to school a few weeks later though, I learned the hard work had paid off. 

Although my walks through the neighborhood helped me add a new skill to my arsenal — and believe me, six years later, the dunk package is still the exact same — they slowly became a way for me to relax and distance myself from whatever else was going on around me.

During the early stages of the pandemic, when any sense of normalcy was put on pause, these excursions became more of a family affair, as my mom, siblings and I would walk and talk about anything that came across our minds. During that time of uncertainty, I realized the importance of getting close to those around you. 

Over the last year, when I have been finding any excuse to break away from global chaos and explore the friendly confines of Chapel Hill, I have been reminded of what made the hobby so enjoyable for me in the first place. The physical activity is rewarding, but the mental pause is just as satisfying.

While sometimes I walk in silence, the playlist I listen to most frequently is the same one I created when I was first getting started. Titled ‘HAF’, it stands for exactly what a cringeworthy, wannabe-edgy 15-year-old would classify as “hype” music. 

When I was a teenager making my way through adolescence, the featured tracks were exclusively rap, because I tried to convince myself that was the only music worth listening to. As I’ve aged, I’ve begun to increasingly laugh at my old ignorance. My guilty pleasure, I must admit, is that '80s hits simply don’t miss. 

Slowly but surely, Future and Lil Uzi Vert have been joined by the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Hall and Oates on the playlist, because yes, there is a world where these legends coexist.

The next time you see me strolling down Franklin Street, Bolin Creek Trail or anywhere else my heart desires, feel free to tap my shoulder and place a bet on what genre of music I’m listening to. 

My guess is that you’ll have an equal chance of predicting a coin flip. 

Although it is only a fraction of the master list that was created over six years ago, here's a snippet that can introduce you to the world of pure pedestrianism — one timeless classic or Pooh Shiesty banger at a time. 


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The Daily Tar Heel for December 1, 2021

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