Most student athletes take a shower or grab a bite to eat after practice. Kristin Avallon hugged Bruce Springsteen.
As seen in a video now gone viral, Avallon, a sophomore radiology major from Hatboro, Pa., made her way on stage to Springsteen at his Sept. 3 show at Citizen’s Bank Park. Avallone, who also attended the Sept. 2 performance, went straight to the concert from cheerleading practice in her Temple T-shirt, as seen in the video.
“On Sunday [Sept. 2] I was dressed all cute for the concert, and [the] one when I get on stage I was gross and my hair was a mess,” Avallon said. “But the Temple shirt apparently made it.”
The stage had three columns with platforms at the ends of each, and Avallon and her family were seated near one, she said. Since she had also attended the previous night’s performance, Avallon knew when to approach the platform to prepare for a possible Springsteen appearance.
“We booked it,” Avallon said.
While Springsteen was playing, “10th Avenue Freeze-Out,” Avallon began to lose her grounding in the excitement of the crowd.
“I was getting pushed up,” Avallon said. “I wasn’t expecting that. [Springsteen] was basically on the third step [of the platform] and I was basically on someone’s shoulders. I was hesitant, because I didn’t want to impose on [Springsteen] and kind of take him by surprise, like, ‘Oh, what’s this crazy girl doing?’ I was waving to him, and he kind of looked surprised. I guess he wasn’t expecting someone to be that high up. He put out his arm, and I grabbed it and then I went up. I was speechless.”
However speechless, Avallon showed her admiration for Springsteen with an enthusiastic embrace.
“He went in for a normal hug, but I wasn’t having that,” Avallon said. “I just grabbed his waist. It’s been a long time coming. My whole family are huge fanatics and never met him. That’s the closest my family ever was to him, and they’ve been fans since before I was born.”
Avallon said her family was “freaking out” after her hug with Springsteen. She said although she cried onstage, she cried even more after she realized what had just happened.
“It felt so unreal, like a dream,” Avallon said. “ I don’t know what I would have done if he gave me the microphone to sing because, even though I know the words, my mind would have drawn a blank because I was just lost in the moment.”
Avallon said that her family, which has attended numerous Springsteen performances, believes that the Philadelphia performances were the best ones they’ve seen. Avallon, who has now been to five Springsteen performances, agrees.
“He’s an intense performer,” Avallon said. “You can tell by the expressions on his face how into the song he gets.”
While she is gaining recognition for her recorded embrace, Avallon still doesn’t know who took the video that has made its way to the Internet. She’s just glad the moment happened.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and I took advantage of it,” Avallon said. “I’m beyond thankful and grateful that I was lucky enough to have this happen to me.”
Jenelle Janci can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.