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The Daily Tar Heel

Satire: Rushing Franklin Street showed me the real reason people go to UNC

20240203_richards_franklin-rush-216.jpg
students celebrate UNC's victory by rushing Franklin Street on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024.

I’ve spent every day of my life not caring about basketball. I came to UNC to foster my intellectual curiosity through rigorous classes, to grow by exposing myself to new perspectives and to get a free New York Times Games subscription to play Connections daily.

Besides, the college sports industry exists solely to create arbitrary divisions between people based on whatever institution they happen to pay thousands of dollars to attend. Anyone who cares about it is just a victim of an artificially manufactured rivalry with the single-minded goal of extracting as much money from fans through ticket sales, merch and $7 bottles of water. 

Fans follow their chosen institution like herds of mindless sheep, and I’m happy to report that I'm immune to Rameses’ propaganda. 

All week, the centuries-old question, “Who's the better blue?” hung like a plague over campus. Everyone, from students to professors to the pit preachers, was talking about the big game — the ultimate showdown between UNC and Duke, Carolina Blue and Duke blue, good and evil. 

“I got phase one tickets, of course I’m skipping my sister’s wedding!”

“I’ll give you my ticket if you pay my tuition.”

“Do you think a 3-gallon borg is enough?”

Even though I didn’t see what all the hubbub was about, it was clear to me that the game was a veritable who’s who of the Chapel Hill community. To not go was to cast yourself as a loser — or, worse, a Duke fan. It was nonnegotiable: I had to get into that arena.

Unfortunately, it’s statistically impossible for first-years to win tickets in the student lottery (trust me, I took STOR 155). 

There was only one viable option left. I was going to have to sneak into the Dean Dome. Did I care about basketball? Not really. But if I didn't get into the game, my social life would cease to exist. I soon found myself wandering Franklin Street, wondering if Target carried both tortilla chips and grappling hooks, or if I would have to visit two separate stores. 

After vertically scaling hundreds of feet up the side of the arena, evading campus security and a close call on the Chapel Hill Transit U bus, I made it into the Dean Dome. The game had begun.

Rameses had been armed with a T-shirt cannon and was firing at random into the crowd. He lobbed one into row seven and I saw someone’s grandmother go down. Cheers erupted around her as Armando Bacot sank a 3-pointer. The first half was over — Tar Heels lead 57-46.

The second half ticked by, and I found myself unable to do anything but Hark the Sound.

With one minute left, the crowd’s anticipation was palpable. I turned to my friends and, in perfect, monotonous unison, they recited, “We’re so up.”

The buzzer went off, making the Tar Heels' victory, and it wasn't even close. Suddenly, all 21,750 fans mobilized, forming a winding single-file line. I hear footsteps beating down around me, but they sound… cloven.

As we flock to Franklin Street, I’m absorbed into the herd; I’m no longer an individual, but something greater, something more. My head feels strange. Heavy. I reach up, brush my fingers against my temples, and I’m met with great, curling horns — ram’s horns.

I frantically look around the crowd and see my friends and strangers, and that one girl from my orientation group that I don’t talk to anymore but am forced to give a half-hearted wave of acknowledgement to every time I see her. All of their heads dipped from the weight of their new horns as wool began to spring from their skin. The sounds of 10,000 hooves thundering towards the intersection are deafening. Finally, I realized the true value of going to UNC. It wasn’t for trivial pursuits like education, social growth, or professional development, but something far more important. Something eternal.

Joining the herd.

I open my mouth and bleat, “I love UNC baaasketball!”

@dthopinion | opinion@dailytarheel.com

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