There are plenty of reasons to go to Terrapins men's basketball games: the french fries, the free T-shirts, the best student section in the Big Ten. But one reason reigns above all the rest: The Chick-fil-A "Fowl Shot" promotion.
I live for the final five minutes of every game, hoping the opposing team might miss two consecutive foul shots. The following week I need only flash my student ticket at Chick-fil-A and receive a free chicken sandwich. It is impossible for me to conceive anything more satisfying.
I attended the last home game on Saturday, and, of course, cheered loudest when Purdue missed back-to-back foul shots in the waning minutes of the game. At last, I'd get my free chicken sandwich – my first one this semester!
I rolled up to Stamp Student Union at about noon Monday, bracing myself for the inevitable lunchtime crowd outside this university's favorite fast-casual chicken joint (No offense, Nando's). I waited patiently in the line, knowing that once I had my hands on my free meal, it would all be worth it.
After an excruciating 10 minutes of anticipation, I finally walked up to the counter with confidence. And then I saw it. A small red sign affixed to the register announced the worst news imaginable: "We are not a participating location for the Fowl Shot promotion."
With a single sentence, Chick-fil-A ruined my day — nay, broke my heart. I walked away empty-handed but nevertheless determined. I immediately consulted Google Maps in an effort to find the next nearest location. Apparently there was another Chick-fil-A in Silver Spring, only a little more than 5 miles away.
I glanced at my watch, but unfortunately didn't have enough time before my afternoon classes to catch one of Shuttle-UM's route 111 buses. I halfheartedly checked my bank account balance but knew if I couldn't afford to buy my chicken sandwich, I wouldn't be able to splash the cash on an Uber, either. I sighed and resigned myself to an overwhelmingly disappointing lunch at McDonald's or Panda Express instead.
If I had the strength to boycott Chick-fil-A I would, but their tender chicken and golden waffle fries remain my greatest weaknesses. I'll continue to endure the endless lines in Stamp — albeit now with a little less enthusiasm. I'll likely never shake the feeling that Chick-fil-A had played me, nor cease wondering why the franchise offered free chicken to us students only to ensure it was unattainable.