As I've mentioned before, I didn't get much of a chance to express any school spirit while at BU. It's ok. I can work up some school spirit when I want to. Like the time I met Jim Koch in the 96 Rock studio while I was working there. He's the founder of Sam Adams beer, a Boston staple, and was promoting some new ale he'd created. The bottle had a big X on the label and I'm pretty sure the stuff wasn't legal but anyway, I met Koch (who told us that his children each received an eyedropper full of Sam Adams at birth - right out of the womb) in the studio, which smelled exactly like a keg party and told him I'd gone to school at Boston University. We did a cheers to Rhett, the university mascot. It was about 8:30 in the morning. The point is I get pretty pumped to watch athletic events down here in North Carolina because I never really had that when I went to school. Tonight there's a Duke/UNC basketball game and the town was just totally ready to go as soon as work and classes got out. People shamelessly waving their "I need tickets" signs and everybody in light blue in the Franklin Street windows having a beer and some dinner before the big event.
While I've enjoyed many a night out on the town, fists clenched, screaming for the team, I finally got to go to an actual UNC basketball game this weekend when a friend gave me an extra student ticket. The game was on Saturday and the weekend had already been a lot of fun so I had high hopes for more as I donned my "Go Heels!" t-shirt. J agreed to drop me off near the stadium so I could meet up with my friends and just as we got on the road it began to rain. Then J noticed his gas light was on. And then we were in terrible traffic. Next we were in terrible traffic in a one-lane construction zone and J became convinced he was going to run out of gas in that lane, the lane leading to the game and then everyone at UNC and in the universe would hate him. At this point I semi-unfairly fled the vehicle, told him it was ok - I'd walk the short distance so he could get out of there quickly, thus avoiding a fate worse than death, a fate worse than someone spilling what happens in the 6th Harry Potter, which he has yet to read - and I emerged, still giddy, into the rain, now a downpour.
Needless to say, by the time I made my way to the student entrance, through muddy rivers and driven fans, and flashed the student ID I'd borrowed, praying they wouldn't look too hard, I was soaked, my jeans so weighty that I wondered how I'd keep them on. Once I found my seat and my friends and had removed my sodden sweatshirt I settled in and had a great time screaming and sometimes jumping and sometimes admitting I didn't know what was going on, until UNC had beat Clemson and it was time to go. I was meeting Chappy, who'd also attended the game, at his car so we could all go out and asked the scientists I was hanging with how to get to the parking lot. Suddenly I was reminded of the time I went to DC with J's lab and everyone kept asking me what street we needed to turn on to get to such and such, and which bars were good and I realized I didn't know the place where I'd grown up. Not at all. Same thing with Chapel Hill, except it's much smaller here and there's only, like, two major roads. I followed the scientists for a good while before they realized I wasn't really going the way I needed to be going and I left them to forge my own path. "I'll ask a police officer or a pleasant student," I thought. "Hi. I've lived here for, oh, three years or so. Can you help me find a major parking lot on a major road that I drive on just about every day?" The scientists ran off to their labs and their potions and I yelled a goodbye as I galloped off in the direction they pointed and suddenly confronted an enormous hill. An enormous, slippery hill that I slid down in my felt flats with little swans on the toes. I finally met up with the swarms of basketball goers after I'd stumbled over the last few rocks and back on to the sidewalk and I even found the appropriate parking lot without the help of police officers or students.
The experience, however nonsensical this reasoning is, left me feeling slightly more qualified as a fan. Attending the game...in the rain and through the mud and with a student ID that wasn't mine, cheating the system, I felt I'd earned my stripes as a fan. And I don't mean just a UNC fan, either. I mean a fan of sports. I did a lot of things in college that required facing the elements or cheating the system, including walking all the way to Star Market to ensure we had Oreos when it snowed four feet freshman year. And I never minded Priya using her sister's license to fill our mini-fridge with Miller Lite. But in the sports arena, my feats had been just about nonexistent. So tonight while watching the game from the comfort of my home, hopefully eating chocolate that my beloved husband has promised to fetch while out (I swear to God, boy, I'm not kidding) I'll know that when I root for the home team I do so as a fan. Of the Tarheels. And of course when I need to pull it out for purposes of winning the hearts of high-powered beer merchants, of Rhett the Boston Terrier.