By Emily Banks ’12
(An English major from New York deconstructs the Carolina mystique, excerpted from The New York Times/ Education Life, 7-26-09):
“It would take an hour to explain to New Yorkers the complicated relationship between the [Carolina] men’s and women’s water polo teams, what I learned in my Southern literature class, or how it felt to sing the alma mater on Franklin Street after our basketball team finally took home the national championship…..
“It could be argued that you’re not truly a Tar Heel until you’ve had your first experience beating Duke. Mine was with [Tar Heel-bred] Andy and three friends. Andy relieves his tension with a series of superstitions. One is that he has to drink a Coke. Another is that he can’t pee during the game, and neither can anyone else. You’re also not allowed to respond to text messages….
“When we came back to win (101-87, no less!), I could barely stand it. Singing the alma mater… as we jogged to Franklin Street, I felt more a part of a community than I ever had….
“… I’ve never been sentimental. Carolina changed me in that way. Maybe it’s O.K. to be a little corny — and to love a place with your whole heart.”