The Digital Third-Wheel

These days you can relive an entire night the next morning.  Even before you get out of bed or scramble around for a few advil, you probably reach for your phone.  With the help of Instagram and snapchat you can look back into last night over and over again through the lens of your friends cell phone.

Some nights are bound to produce a lot of content.  Last Thursday was one of those nights in Chapel Hill.  The heels won and the celebration began.  Everyone at the game rushed to Franklin Street, but before they did, they whipped out their phone to take a video of the students storming the court.  Then maybe they stormed the court and got their phone out again to make sure all of their friends saw that they stormed the court.

I went to the game with my cousin Earl, who flew down from New York city a few hours before the game and flew back the next day.  I only get to see Earl a few times a year now that he’s in the working world, so I was excited to go to the game with him.  We had a great time, it would be hard not to at a game like that, but Earl’s phone was there.

Whenever we made a big play and the crowd started to get really loud Earl tried to catch it on camera.  I might be using some selective memory here, but every time Earl tried to take a video we turned the ball over, or missed a big shot, or Coach K called a timeout to talk to the refs.

I let this happen a couple of times, but eventually I had to say something.  I wasn’t about to let Earl’s phone lose the game for us.

“Put that damn phone away dude.”

“You’re right.  Fuck it, I’m done with the phone.”

He put the phone back in his pocket, we made a little run, then we tied the game.  The Dean Dome erupted, the stands started rocking, and Earl reached for his phone again.  I didn’t care enough to give him shit for it.  I was way too into the game.

Now more than ever there is an apparent need to document what’s going on in front of you.  Earl’s not the only fan that tried to capture a bit of the insanity that went on in Chapel Hill last Thursday.  We’re all guilty of letting our phones get in the way of enjoying the moment.  Whether that’s at a concert, or a basketball game, or your average night around town, chances are somebody will take a video or a picture to share with the world.  So don’t worry about missing out on anything, you’ll be able to watch what happened tomorrow morning.  But if you were lucky enough to be there, in the moment, someone’s phone was too.


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