Rushing Franklin, a Recounting of the Pandemonium
Rushing Franklin always starts with a lot of screaming.
Something incredible has just happened. The natty is yours, redemption is yours. You can forget about the shot, You don’t have to knock on every piece of wood around campus anymore. You are a national champion.
You make a mad dash out of the house and into the street with your housemates right behind you. Screaming and jumping and laughing all at the same time, you shoot down the side walk. From your left, students tumble out of the frat houses in a tumbling roar like the zombies from World War Z. Girls and guys alike are screaming at the top of their lungs and you can’t hear anything but the completely wasted kids doing their best to celebrate and not fall over on the way to Franklin.
Your housemates are still behind you.
You’ve made it to the intersection of Cameron and Columbia. There on the right, policemen have already lined up; and as you glance at their faces for a split second as you dash past, you notice that they are straight faced, showing no signs of excitement. For a split second, you wonder how in the world anyone in Chapel Hill is not losing their minds. But Franklin awaits, so you must keep going.
Your housemates are no where to be seen.
Now you are in the middle of North Columbia street. And right in front of you, Franklin awaits in all of its glory. From your left and from your right, people are streaming onto North Columbia, but you cannot stop to see if you know any of them. For the celebration awaits.
No one you know is anywhere to be seen.
Now you’ve made it. You’re standing on the outside of the people that are rushing Franklin. Your house is very close to Franklin and it didn’t take long to get here, so only the intersection is completely full. But even as you stand there, the crowd has spilled out of the intersection and there is no end in sight for how many more people will spend the next few hours here.
You make the decision, its time to go in. Pushing into the heaving press of sweaty bodies and shrill voices, you wonder exactly why you are doing this. From somewhere on your right side, champagne comes in and showers everyone. Well, hopefully its champagne.
On your left, a guy and a girl are passionately making out. It is incredible that they can do that and not be swept under the feet of everyone around them. They are both clearly very wasted.
Everywhere around you are people that you don’t know.
The crowd is absolutely insane. People are chanting all sorts of things. The crowd has swelled to a size that is so big that no one chant can take over the whole group, so you can hear two or three chants coming from different areas. People are up on the poles that support the stoplights and more are beginning to ascend. You wonder how many people can get on the poles before things start breaking.
In front of you, you see a girl that you attempted to ask on a date once. And yea she’s just as pretty as the day that she completely ignored your texts. She’s on some guy’s shoulders and part of you wants to feel jealous while the other part of you is still going insane about the fact that you won the national championship.
You have to avoid the first person you’ve seen so far that you know.
In your section of the crowd, a chant of “U-N-C” has been started by someone. A black guy standing next to you is screaming “WUT” in between every cycle of the chant and you join in. Back to back, you both scream “WUT” in this unbridled explosion of emotion and joy.
And all of a sudden, you see one of your great friends and his girlfriend struggling in the immense expanse of humanity. You scream their names and you struggle to reach one another. When you reach them, you all huge and scream and jump up and down. Are you celebrating because you found someone you know or because you won the game? There is not really a good answer to that question.
His girlfriend is on the smaller side and she’s clearly a little shaken by the immense pressure that every single person in the crowd is putting on each other. So you and her boyfriend stand there, grabbing each others arms and creating a pocket of space for her to regain her composure.
You have found some friends at last.
Over to your left, someone has started a bonfire. After signalling to your friends, you all start to make your way toward the blaze. You don’t want to get too close, in case you get pushed in on accident. However, you get close enough to take some pictures on your phone. Hopefully one of them will be good enough to put on Instagram.
Your friend’s girlfriend is still a little shaken up. So you help him put her on his back and you push a path out for him and her — butt first. After what seems like hours, but was probably a minute or so, you break free of the amassed bodies.
You turn around to look at the crowd. Even more people have climbed up on those poles and some brave souls are dangling from the wires that power the stop-lights. One of those people is doing it with one hand. You wish that you had climbed one. You turn away from the insanity.
You have rushed Franklin.