Graduate school (especially in chemistry) is a funny thing. Everyone works hard, no one gets paid very much and there is this strange masochistic machismo revolving around working a lot of hours. Its not terribly uncommon to put in 6 and a half day weeks, so that the total hours worked in a week approached 75-80. Oof — boy, those were the days…
I got my degree in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina and the folks I was in there with were like that too, but there was one day when reactions weren’t bubbling, instruments weren’t pinging and scientific journals sat untouched in the library (yes, pre-internet, we actually WENT to the library…) and that day was was the first day of the ACC Basketball Tournament.
On the Friday that the tournament began, we would head down to He’s Not Here (found in the picture by the lone tree in the dirt yard), a bar located between Franklin and Rosemary Streets and start camping out around 10:30 in the morning. The Citysearch summary of He’s Not Here is pretty much dead on:
He's Not Here is reminiscent of the back yard of a frat house, without the broken glass. A giant magnolia tree droops over one corner of the bar's outdoor courtyard. This place is best on a warm evening: The moon rises, the fireflies flash their mating signals and the co-eds come out in their shorts and flip-flops. It's enough to make you ignore the stale beer smell and cigarette butts.
The first tip-off was usually at noon, and the four games would be played in succession well into the evening. It was college basketball nirvana – raucous bar filled with partisan Tar Heel fans, bar food and beer. By the end of the day, you were tired, drunk and hoarse, but it was all worth it. (Things are a little different now, the conference now has 12 teams and so there has been a “play-in” day on Thursday for the last several years, but when I was at UNC there were only 8 teams, so everything started Friday). The tournament of course continued into Saturday and Sunday, but Friday was the real holiday.