ment where a tight-knit sense of brotherhood is not just commonplace — it’s
inevitable. Competitors, teammates, gentlemen, brothers — this is Darkside.”
Junior Mark Confroy, who was randomly assigned room 316 his freshman
year, said one wing on the third floor has
unofficially become designated for members of the team in recent years.
“Originally, only room 311 was passed
on, but over the past couple of years other
players luckily happened to get other
rooms in that corner of the hall,” he said.
“For example, 310 has been passed down
for three or four years now.”
At the beginning, Confroy didn’t realize
what he was getting into.
“I was planning on trying out for the
team before I even knew where my dorm
was going to be and, even funnier, I didn’t
realize that I lived next to the senior leaders and one of the captains — Elliott Murray [’05] — until I got to the actual tryouts,” he said.
After making the team and deciding to
stay in room 316 through his sophomore
year, Confroy said new Darksiders received
residence in rooms 311 and 310 after the
“Now 311 is like the trophy room,”
Thomas said. “It’s where the disc bag lives.”
More undergraduates have been
brought into the fold.
Before living in room 311 last year, Mat
Thomas, a rising senior, slept in the space
four or five nights a week as a freshman.
“It can be rowdy,” Thomas said. “There
have been plenty of fights — even fist
fights — but I’d rather live with my best
friend than with someone who isn’t.”
Parrish, who now lives in Chapel Hill
and works as an artist while coaching an
Ultimate Frisbee team at McDougle Middle School, will have one of his Old East
mates by his side as best man in the coming months.
The nature of living in such close quarters with friends you sweat and toil with
day after day, enduring the highs and lows
of competition, creates an atmosphere that
is much different than that of a fraternity,
“You earn your way in by putting in
the work, rather than putting up with a
bunch of crap,” he said of the dorm and
But as UNC’s master construction plan
unfurls, the future of rooms continually
passed down to the sport’s athletes stands in
jeopardy. In the 2008-09 school year, Old
East and Old West will be closed to correct
problems that exist as a result of construction done in 1992, said Rick Bradley, assistant director of the department of housing
and residential education.
“That would pose a huge problem on
the little tradition we have going on,” Confroy said.
Housing officials said that in recent
years they have been dealing more often
with requests for group lodging.
“It’s a bigger issue for a club sport or a
Greek group,” Bradley said. “It’s been a question in the last two years or so — can we
live amongst our friends of any affiliation.”
While such allowances go beyond the
housing department’s standard policies and
procedures, the nature of some requests
merits bending rules, Bradley said.
He mentioned that the mothers of students on the men’s lacrosse team have called
housing as a result of the Duke incident to
request that their sons be housed together
in a dorm throughout their four years to
ensure security, insularity and control.
And in some situations it only makes
sense, Bradley said, referring to housing
members of the swimming and diving
team together because their shared schedules, including late-night practices, help
keep roommates on an even timetable.
But the Darkside case doesn’t yet have
the makings of a formal policy change. The
guys must continue to rely on their luck
“When Ray [Parrish ’00] lived there,
there used to be stadium seating in 311 to
watch sports and play video games,”
Thomas said. “That’s something that guys
are always complaining about now.”
Taking couches from the dorm’s third-floor library and placing them in the elevator
for comfortable hall-to-hall transportation
also was pretty common, Dan Parrish said.
“As I drive down Cameron Avenue, I
feel fortunate and proud to be able to show
my friends and family where I lived,” Gill
said. “The oldest state university building in
America, a national historic landmark, the
heart of UNC and, for three amazing
years, my home.”
For those on the team who never had
the chance to live in the time-honored
space, “The Old Easy” still felt like where
they were supposed to be.
“I never actually lived there, but from
2001 to 2005 I was a regular fixture,” said
player Eric Kirkham ’05. “My drum set
actually lived in room 310 my junior year
— the resident adviser was particularly
Thomas said seeing campus tours stop
by the dorm as a designated location on
the prepared walk was humbling when he
“But once you get over that fact, it’s just
home for you for the next eight months.”
— Stephanie Newton