It may be a little heretical to say this—seeing as how Carolina’s football team is amazing this year—but these chilly November nights make me long for my high school football days.

My team, the Hopewell Titans, hardly received statewide recognition, much less national recognition. We were not a powerhouse. We won some, we lost some. Most importantly we won against our rival high school my senior year (what exhilaration!).

But that’s not what I miss the most.

What I miss most is bundling up in scarves and fluffy jackets. I miss cheering with a close group of friends and knowing everyone in the stands. I miss smiles and waves from parents sitting a few rows over. I miss the hot chocolate we drank during the late nights.

This is not to say that I don’t love Carolina football—to the contrary, I’ve been to (or watched) every game but one so far this year—but part of me wants to go back to high school where one person could start a cheer and have the entire stands (all 200 people) echo it. It’s simply not the same going to a 3 o’clock game with the sun shining down and the band marching in all their uniformed magnificence.

The vendor-filled atmosphere is a little too much like Disneyland (although I wouldn’t mind taking some frozen lemonade back to high school with me). Parents are milling about with their children; students are lost in a sea of blue bodies. The football players, other than say Yates, Sexton and Marvin Austin, become big bodies with nameless faces.

We cheer for their goals. We are frustrated with their losses (what happened against Maryland?!). But they cannot hear us call their names. They won’t see our disappointed glares in class on Monday. They are simply far-away celebrities.

I love our school.

I love the Tar Heels. I hope we make it to a Bowl Game.

But I miss breathing out clouds of smoke and driving down the road to CiCi’s to celebrate our victory.
Never thought I’d say it at Carolina but I miss the Friday night lights.

By Shannon Spain