It was about three years ago, I decided I’m going to knock off number 3 on my bucket list. Number 3 on my list was to attend the Duke vs. UNC game at Cameron. I was at a point in my life where I knew I could make this happen. This was one of last things on my bucket list that involves Duke. I had already met Coach K ( on several occasions), obtained center court seats for a Duke game (twice), took a tour of of the locker room and facilities, sat in the student section for a game, (several times), and sat with Crazy Towel Guy for a game.
I had to find a way to make the Duke UNC game. I had been told by many to forget about it. This game was impossible to get in. And they were right about this game “almost” being impossible to get in. Think about it for a moment. You have students camping out for 30+ days just to get in this game. You have season ticket holders who donate at minimum $8,000 just to be in the lottery to get season tickets. How was I gonna get into this game? There is a reason it is one of the toughest tickets in all of sports.
I started thinking about going to this game two years ago. Last year I came down to Duke for ESPN Game Day with my dad. I asked my dad to let me borrow 5 Ben Franklins just to see if I could find a ticket. It was early in the afternoon, but I didn’t come across a ticket. Later on I learned from others that you have people with tickets already trading their tickets + $400 just to upgrade seats.
After learning this information, I decided to start saving about a year ahead of time. Back in January I decided to get one ticket off of StubHub. I went with one ticket because none of my friends were crazy enough to spend the money. It took Ben Franklin and a few of his twin brothers to secure a ticket. Also going with one ticket I was able to get a front row seat in section 8.
When I arrived on campus I headed to Cameron Indoor Stadium and Krzyzewskiville. I had been on campus before when the tents were up but never within a couple hours before the game. The atmosphere in K-ville was electric! You could hear chants from different groups of Crazies such as “GTHC” and “Whose house…Our house”, and “Let’s Go Duke”.
I ended up talking with different Cameron Crazies and finding out about how their experience was living in K-ville the last month. They talked about how when it snows they do get a grace period to leave K-ville. They mentioned they use lanterns to see to be able do their home work. They also described the construction of the tents with wooden pallets under them to keep them off the mud. One Crazy said, “K-ville proves that we are the most dedicated fans in college sports and the whole world.” I couldn’t agree more!
After talking with the Crazies, I started to walk to Bryan Center to get one of the cool “Beat Carolina” t-shirts. As I was walking, I came across a Crazy dressed as a robot. The ideas the Crazies come up with for outfits will grab your attention. As I was walking toward the Bryan Center, I saw a bench that was painted blue and white with the slogans, “Go Duke”, “GTHC”, and “UNC-CHeat”. Little did I know, later that night, that bench was gonna be set on fire!
When I returned to K-ville, I saw Dick Vitale hanging out with the Crazies. I was able to talk to him briefly. It was now getting closer to the time they were going to open the doors to Cameron. In the parking lot, I saw a small vehicle with a huge replica Red Bull can attached to the top. They were passing out free Red Bulls. As if camping out for a month didn’t have the Crazies ready for the game, now they had Red Bull and other energy drinks being given out for free!
It was now closer to time for the Crazies to enter Cameron. I could see the long line of Crazies ready to enter. The line extended the entire length of K-ville. That line was for the tenters. There was another long line across from K-ville for students who didn’t camp out. I have been to many games at Cameron and know how big the student sections are. When I looked at those lines, I wondered how in the world are they gonna fit all the students in the game. I asked that question to a buddy of mine who works in the media for the games as we were standing out in K-ville. He told me that they are gonna pack them in tight tonight. He also said tonight would not be the best night for a fire marshall to come to Cameron.
Now, it was finally time for the fans and alumni to enter the game. As I entered Cameron and walked upstairs, I could hear these loud chants. I walked to the section where my seat was and felt like I was walking into a war zone. The place was electric. I took photos of some of the unique posters the Crazies had in the student section. The Crazies were doing their normal chants before game time. At tipoff the place was even louder.
Duke played from behind the 1st half. Thoughts ran through my head of Duke losing this game and the heat I was gonna take from my UNC friends when I got home. However, Duke made their comeback the 2nd half. I yelled, cheered, and pumped my fist through out the game. I had never experienced so many different emotions in one game. Duke pulled out the win and now it was time to celebrate. Before I left Cameron, I sat in my seat for a few minutes and soaked it all in. I have been to around 30 Duke games before but nothing like this.
I met up with some friends of mine who had flown out from Wisconsin for the game. We walked over to the court yard area between Cameron and the Bryan Center. Well…the party had started! The students and fans had gathered around a bonfire. There were hundreds if not thousands at the bonfire. There were screams of joy as well as chants of GTHC. I watched as they brought in another bench to keep the fire going. A while later I had one of the Crazies ask me did I want to help them carry another bench to the fire. The players even came out to the bonfire and celebrated. I left that night realizing I had experienced one of the most exciting events in all of sports!
The next morning I headed back over to K-ville and Cameron to check on the aftermath. I talked to some of the grounds crew at K-ville. One guy told me the students have until the end of the day to take whatever belongings they wanted out of K-ville . After that, anything left over was headed to the dump. They even had a large storage container beside of K-ville ready to use. I walked over to the court yard and to my surprise, it had been cleaned up by 11am. The mud pit that used to be grass was all that remained. The whole campus had a calm after the storm kind of feeling. I saw students walking to class too. It was around that moment that I realized how amazing this is. Here, you have some of the most elite minds in the world (your future doctors, lawyers, business men, and leaders) partying all night long. Yet the next day it’s back to work. As I walked back toward Cameron to my vehicle, I ran into Seth Curry. He had what I believe a backpack on and looked like he was heading to class. I told him “good game” and he said “appreciate it”. I realized its not only back to class for the students but its also back to work for the players as well.
I have been going to Duke games for 11years now. The Duke Carolina game is by far the best experience I have had as a Duke fan. The price to get in this game is not cheap but the experience you will have is priceless and the memories will last forever.
Oh yeah…with Hood eligible next year and Parker and company coming in, I’m already making plans to make the next game! Enjoy the rest of the pictures below.