Alex Collette

Confessions of a UNC Student

I have a confession to make. I wasn’t standing in the risers for the most recent basketball game against Maryland Shocking, I know. Because I recently started doing statistical work for the JV basketball team, I have been unable to stand in line outside the Dean Dome for hours prior to games in order to secure a spot in the front of the student section. The JV statistical crew is basically the underground foundation of the totem pole in terms of the basketball hierarchy at UNC, but fortunately, the program is still kind enough to provide me with tickets behind the scorer’s table. Cheering outside the student section for the past couple of games has provided me with a number of new experiences and allows me to share what I feel is a unique perspective on the entire Dean Dome crowd, including the student section. With the big win over Maryland this Saturday, it seemed pertinent and reasonable to examine the Smith Center through the lens of that game, which I will do below. The atmosphere at tip-off was, save contests against Duke, the loudest I have ever heard the Dean Dome. Reggie Bullock’s torrid start got everyone fired up immediately. The diehards and the students, knowing this game was a must-win to stay competitive in the ACC and to build on the great victory against Florida State, quickly...

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Just A Little Bit of History Repeating

College basketball, perhaps more than any other sport, lends itself to the drawing of parallels. Whether it be in the comparison of players, coaches, or teams, fans are always looking to weigh the present against the past. This is completely understandable, especially given the highly cyclical nature of the sport. For elite programs, the difference between a successful season and a sub-par one is often dictated by how much talent can be retained from one year to the next. With the flashing lights and prodigious paychecks of the NBA serving as constant temptations, the nation’s top college players annually make a decision to stay or go that determines whether the upcoming season will be boom or bust for their respective alma maters. Of course, as Carolina fans we all know where this season fits in the college basketball cycle. The departure of four of the starting five players from last year’s squad to the NBA has left a tremendous void to be filled on the hardwood in Chapel Hill. What’s worse, Tar Heel fans everywhere are still trying to rid themselves of the sour taste leftover from an incredibly frustrating and unfortunate turn of events in last year’s NCAA tournament. But for Roy Williams, trying to rebuild from scratch after a mass exodus of talent is far from a novel concept. This season marks the third time in eight...

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A Whole New Year

One of the most difficult aspects of being a sports fan is growing accustomed to change. Professional athletes frequently switch teams as opportunities for more money, better nightlife, and nicer weather present themselves; rare is the player that remains in one city for his/her entire career. As player movement during free agency has increased, it’s become more problematic for fans to invest in the relatively one-sided relationships that they form with players. College sports are unique because a student or an alumnus can form a bond with players and teams without such concerns. With the exception of transfers, college players can’t change teams. They are forever a part of the university that they attend. Because the college experience is so special for most students, many identify strongly with their alma maters, even in adulthood. Some of the best memories that students have relate to sports, and it’s consequently natural for alumni to feel so powerfully about their schools’ sports teams. Being a UNC fan is no exception. Carolina is a place with tremendous school spirit and a rich tradition of athletic successes, particularly on the basketball court. It is no wonder, then, that fans cheer loudly during timeout videos in which former stars introduce themselves and then declare “I’m a Tar Heel.” The history and the sense of community associated with UNC basketball are nearly unmatched, and students of...

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