The Worst Feeling in the World: Chapel Hill Style


Editor’s Note: With great pleasure I’d like to introduce you to Keeping It Heel’s newest staff writer Zack Pearson.

It’s the worst feeling in the world to a Basketball fan. Your stomach aches. Your head hurts. Frustration kicks in. It’s a feeling that makes you want to just bury your head into your hands and scream.

It’s what losing on a buzzer beater to your hated rival on your home court feels like. I felt all of that pain Wednesday night and through all day Thursday. Not even a trip to the Chicago auto-show made the  pain go away.

Wednesdays game against Duke was much more then “just a game”. It was the biggest game of the year. It’s DUKE. It’s the school we can’t stand. The fans we can’t stand. And the coach that we can’t stand.

That’s why it hurts so bad. Basketball is more then just basketball to Carolina fans. It’s a way of life. It’s what we eat, sleep, breath during the late fall through early spring days. It’s tradition, it’s Dean Smith being the Dean of College Ball in Carolina. It’s what we were taught at a very young age.

From the second Austin Rivers, who I will never ever forget for this, hit that jumper to win the game my heart just sunk. I couldn’t believe it. Neither could the 75 plus Tar Heel fans at GameKeepers bar in Chicago. A UNC Alumni sponsored bar that was rocking just 10 minutes earlier now became a ghost town.

We all felt the pain together. I even overheard a girl outside telling someone in her phone “I hate Austin Rivers, I can’t believe this”.

Cue Kanye West’s “Welcome to Heartbreak”.

How did we blow a 10 point lead with 2:13 left? Why didn’t Zeller have his hands up? Why couldn’t Zeller just make both free throws? All of those questions were running through my head faster then a Usain Bolt 40-yard dash time.

After the buzzer sounded, I instantly turned to alcohol to cure my pain. It didn’t work. I even had to put up with the annoyance of the stupid Duke fans on my Facebook and Twitter. The posts were ridiculous, it seemed like everyone was a Duke fan that night and against me.

That night as I was tossing and turning just cringing at the picture running through my mind. The image of Rivers draining the three and putting a dagger in my heart. I couldn’t get him out of my mind. He was a nightmare for me and he just wouldn’t go away.

The next day wasn’t too much better. I woke up with the same pain in my stomach as I went to sleep with. I still was wondering how it happened. I looked so forward to this game counting down the days in my head until the evil empire comes into Chapel Hill.

All day I struggled to keep my mind right. It was heartbreak at its finest. It had the same pain as somebody running over one of your pets, or even a girlfriend breaking your heart.

Finally Friday came and the pain was going away. I focused on Virginia and how it now became an important game. We must keep pace with Duke and absolutely can’t lose two in a row at the Dean Dome. It would be a disaster.

I finally focused on my normal life all day on Friday. Focused on school, writing, shoes, dinner. You know, the normal things I couldn’t focus on for those 24 hours of hell.

The best part about this whole situation is that we get another chance. In fact, March 3rd could not come any faster. It’s more then just a game again, it’s more then the ACC Regular Season title on the line. It’s about revenge.

See you March 3rd at Cameron Indoor.