Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Winning and Rioting

Since I no longer work in the news world and UNC was in the national title game, guess what I decided to do, go to Chapel Hill and be involved in the idiocy. Six months ago I would have paid to get out of going to Chapel Hill, any time I went near that city, something would happen. I'd be forced to move the live truck 6 times after I had everything set up. Being kicked off a roof because the snipers "don't like TV people." Yet I wanted to see what it was like without being forced to confront the idiots.

First the Dean Dome had probably over 4,000 people there watching the game. I thought it was interesting how the entire crowd reacted like the game was happening in front of us. Anytime they cut to a Michigan State player they booed and of course a UNC player was cheered. This made it interesting during the fast edited pregame show. Many chants filled the arena and made it a very lively scene.

I like UNC, but do not love them as many of these people did. Unless BG makes it to a title, I'll probably stay at home and watch the game, the food is a little cheaper.

Once the Tarheels routed Sparty the "fun" began. 80% of the crowd at the Dean Dome started the mile trek up hill to Franklin St where 30,000 people were already starting chaos. To compare it to something people have seen or experienced, it's like Bourbon Street except on fire. For some reason a local paper thought it would be a good idea to hand out championship papers... WRONG! They were used to start the fires and I swear I saw Nero and a fiddle at Top of the Hill.

Smoke filled the air and pockets of small fires littered the streets. Most of these fires were very small and for some reason people thought it would be a great idea to jump over them. I, now part of the mob, jumped over a couple. Some where just to do it and others were the only way to cross the mob.

Then you just randomly saw people in places that were strange like trees, on top of crosswalk lights, poles and my favorite ripped off street signs. Of course what did people do, jump on top and surf through the crowd. The video below is one of the times I was a little too close to the group of sign surfers. The video below is that time, each time someone fell off it was like an ocean wave crashing into you. People were thrown back into you and you into those behind. Luckily I kept my balance, but some had to be helped up from the fall and their new injuries from people stepping on them.

It was around 1:45 by the time I finally made it back to my car over at the Dean Dome. Am I glad I finally got to be apart of the mob... yes. Will I ever do that again... no. I have experienced the crowds from both sides of the lens. Next time this happens I can watch WRAL and know what is going on and relive this experience, that's enough for me.

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