There is a power at a University like UNC when the blue skies of Carolina, meet the cold of the season and all those involved in the tradition and education of the past and the present meet to play football. Thanksgiving is a time when the world stops to be part of family.
Football has always been part of this great American family tradition and this year it all came together at Kennan Stadium for students, and alums and professors and North Carolina fans.
For two hours, the great Duke UNC rivalry took to the field among the pines. For the first time, I was able to share dreams with alums long gone who love coming back to feel the energy of youth. I could see students relaxed for a last weekend before final projects and exams consume their December. Parents watched their seniors tick off some of the great 4th year experiences. Those working for the University carried a dream of winning and beating Duke and winning bragging rights for a the rest of the year.
It’s been a dream season for Duke. Winning more games than anyone expected and winning respect in all quarters. UNC wasn’t expected to do much but they have been beating al the naysayers, hustling each week and showing intelligence and drive. I’ve found a hero in Ryan Switzer, a freshman with heart and an amazing ability to run close to the ground and miss the tacklers. I’ve enjoyed every minute of the season, and today it was nothing but great competition.
Oh yes, it would have been better to win – to have kept the two point lead in the last few minutes of the game. But winning isn’t what this Thanksgiving weekend needed to be for me.
Having time to stop and enjoy a holiday with my Mom at 90 and my daughter at 22. To have long cold walks through Chapel Hill’s great greenways with Mike each day. To share a campus that is committed to the best higher education can offer students. To do something I care about passionately. To focus on the best in communication, in journalism that matters with students who not only dream but who work to find their future. To lead a school with talent among faculty and staff so that if feels like tomorrow is all possibility. Not much could be better.
Thanksgiving 2013. A personal time to say a very deep thank you. Even if Duke won!