Two days later, I still giggle out loud every time I randomly think about Michael Jordan’s profound proclamation, “the ceiling is the roof.” And I can’t help but grin like a fool reminiscing about the anticipation, the hype, the adrenaline, and the unbridled joy of being a part of so many significant moments all rolled together in one perfect Carolina night:
Waltzing into Phase 4 with no line. Epic lights, thunderous applause. Michael Jordan coming home. Grayson Allen missing three consecutive free throws (“to hate like this is to be happy forever”). Beating d00k 83-90. ACC champions, second year in a row. Nate Britt and Kennedy Meeks crying during their senior speeches. Rushing Franklin Street. Jumping over fires (sorry, mom). Chaos and pride like you’ve never seen before. Cookout in Durham packed with the right shade of blue. Not falling asleep until 3am, not wanting it all to end… From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. From the inside looking out, I can’t explain it. I just know that the Class of 2017 couldn’t have asked for a sweeter ending to our final home game.
Elyse Ashburn said it best – “Without even noticing, UNC seeps into your pores. By junior year, she’s in your blood. You can’t remember a time when you didn’t have moments on campus where you lose your breath for a second and all you can think is, ‘Wow, I love this place.’ …And then UNC tells you to leave. And it hurts.” This was certainly the greatest wake-up call of the senior-year lasts. The realization that I’ll never again experience Carolina basketball with thousands of my closest friends in the Dean Dome hit me like a truck. But I feel so lucky to have this unforgettable night to look back on – even the part where I ate an entire week’s worth of calories on a Cookout tray afterward. Yep, including a milkshake.
The older I get, the more firmly I believe that eating healthy and working out regularly is not about looking good for anyone or losing weight, but to allow myself those moments of spontaneity like celebratory Cookout. Following a strict diet or restricting myself to certain foods just makes me miserable, so I try to eat balanced meals (that are still delicious!) most of the time, and live a little.
This salad is full of ingredients I didn’t use to like – feta cheese, avocado, and chickpeas. I used to think feta was too strong, but it’s grown on me for the extra flavor just a little sprinkle can add to a salad or flatbread. I hated avocados when I was younger, but now I can’t live without them. And I literally didn’t know what chickpeas tasted like until last summer. Now, I love all the different ways they can be prepared (idea for a future post?). I’ve always loved hard-boiled eggs in salads, though 🙂 The extra protein will keep you full longer. This salad can be prepared super fast and they don’t get easier than this, so put it in your rotation for next week’s Meatless Monday – you won’t even miss the meat!