Thursday, March 14, 2024

After a lifetime of cheering for the Tarheels, I finally get to see them live

I've been a fan of the University of North Carolina's hoops team since I was a pre-teen, when Michael Jordan was pouring in buckets and wagging his tongue. Nobody has ever surpassed MJ as my favorite Heel (see this 2009 list of my 33 favorites), but this year's team is exciting and RJ Davis and Armando Bacot are already among Chapel Hill's long list of legends.

In all these years, I'd somehow never seen UNC live, but that streak ended today when the Tarheels visited Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.'s Chinatown. I've been attending Georgetown games at this arena for many years and have become disillusioned by the overall experience at the venue. The combination of years of abysmal play by the Hoyas and the lack of any good food and drink vendors bothering to show up during those low-rent basketball displays has tainted my opinion on CapOne, but the place was alive and hopping for the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament's quarterfinals.

Little Miner Taco was miles above the basic options at Georgetown games. The two tacos I had with a side of corn hit the spot for an early lunch, starting the event out right and avoiding any day-destroying, fried-food hangovers. 

My seat in the nosebleed upper deck was only $20 after fees and I enjoyed the perspective surprisingly quite a bit. The tourney’s #9 seed Florida State kept the game close for the first 10 minutes or so, then top-seed Carolina gradually built a bigger and bigger lead, winning 92-67, with Davis and Bacot dominating and the rest of the team turning in a really scrappy performance, including lots of time for the talented second- and third-team players. The Heels have already won the ACC regular season and look primed for further success in this tournament and then March Madness.

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