Column: My first actual likelihood to actually expertise UNC sports activities as a pupil

October 26, 2019 – the day I decided to study in North Carolina.

That day I was visiting a friend who was a freshman at UNC and we went to the UNC-Herzog soccer game. The intense rivalry game began at 4 p.m. in warm temperatures on a sunny autumn afternoon. When I went to the undergraduate department with my boyfriend, I remembered that one of my favorite things to do as a kid was coming to Chapel Hill with my parents.

What really made me want to be a part of UNC happened just before kick-off when House of Pain’s “Jump Around” roared at Kenan Stadium. As part of a department full of students bouncing around and looking forward to the game, I remembered why this was my dream school growing up. I couldn’t resist going to UNC and living in Chapel Hill for four years.

Almost a year later until October 10, 2020, and I was finally able to attend a Tar Heel soccer game as a student. It didn’t feel quite the same as it did in 2019, however.

It was a lunchtime game, but instead of scorching heat, rain poured from the sky, and instead of the student department being full to the brim, about 1,000 students were scattered in the stands. Sure, it was a UNC soccer game, but the excitement I felt the year before just wasn’t there that day.

COVID-19 took the rush of a sold out Kenan stadium when I saw the tar heels with some of my closest friends. The first year of college that I saw in my head just didn’t happen. To say the least, I was stunned.

However, as I was to find out, I was so disappointed that there wasn’t a “typical” college year of sports, it was the best.

COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus, so it was best not to have more than 50,000 fans packed into one stadium. It took away the experiences I dreamed of in my freshman year of college, but I would much rather have played it safe.

Also, UNC sport is going to be better this year than last year.

With more than 24,000 students claiming to have received the COVID-19 vaccine, cheering for the Tar Heels in a crowded Kenan Stadium or Dean E. Smith Center is again possible. Being a UNC student with access to tickets to the most hyped football season since 1997 – with the tar heels ninth in the AP preseason poll and a Heisman Trophy candidate in junior quarterback Sam Howell – is a fantastic opportunity. Not to mention a new era in Carolina basketball heralded by new head coach Hubert Davis.

Losing a year of college experience wasn’t the end of the world. Sacrificing a year of college to a contagious disease isn’t what younger I thought it would happen just months before college. But older I am grateful that I can hopefully experience another sold out UNC Duke soccer game and maybe, with a little luck from the lottery, a UNC Duke basketball game.

I can’t wait to remember why I wanted to become a tar heel in the first place. Can’t wait to go to soccer games and other sporting events with friends.

I can’t wait to hear “Jump Around” and to hop up and down the silver grandstand with a full crowd of students.

It’s an exciting time to be a tar heel.

@noahmnroe

@dthsports | [email protected]

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