For those of you unfamiliar with the weird ways of the Duke sports scene, there is a time called Campout, which is a giant contest created to test the will and stamina of the graduate students who dare to dream of season tickets for all Duke basketball home games.
Once upon a time, I was such a person. As a double-Dukie, I attended undergrad here and know all too well the horrors of month-long tenting in the middle of winter just to attend one game: the elusive Duke vs. UNC game, the biggest rivalry in all of college basketball.
Oh haha, you think I actually tented in K-ville as an undergrad? Think again. I was completely content with watching the game from the comfort of a wingback chair in the warmth and safety of the Washington Duke Inn, instead of freezing my wits off in a mud pit for the better part of a month. I’m a person who enjoys multiple showers a day and the smell of fresh linens. So, why on earth did I think it was a good idea to camp out for graduate tickets??
I have absolutely no idea.
Here’s how it works: first you have to register for the event weeks beforehand, effectively putting your name in the queue for tickets. On the day that the camping madness commences, you check in at a large white tent, and they tell you the rules of the game. Camping out successfully puts you in the pool of hopefuls whose names will be drawn in a lottery for season tickets. Throughout the duration of the spectacle that is Campout, in which people literally sleep in the back of U-haul trucks or out in the open in pools of unidentifiable liquids, the Campout Committee can call you at any time to check and see if you are still waiting. I didn’t realize how literal this rule was until we were called for checks in the wee hours of the morning. You can only miss one check-in, and if you miss more, your dreams of owning a coveted season pass are dashed.
I could have written about this ages ago, but the scars inflicted upon me from Campout were much too fresh. Even now, as I write this, images of overturned outhouses, 4 a.m. check-in lines, and swollen pizzas left outside to soak up the morning dew flash through my mind as the phantom sounds of omnipresent techno music strum against my eardrums. Simply put, Campout is an exercise in sensory overload and sleep deprivation, and it is enough to make you go mad — or at least give you PTSD. I still flinch at the mere mention of a tent.
It is a wonder that I managed to survive Campout. But it all paid off! Almost two weeks ago was the famed game, and guess who was in attendance? This gal! The energy in Cameron was pulsating, the crowd swaying and undulating along with well-versed chants and the pounding rhythm of the Duke University Marching Band (D.U.M.B!). By tip off, the excitement was literally coursing through all of our veins, and even yours truly was shouting and jumping along with the rest of the student section.
After being down for the majority of the game, Duke finally scored a few much needed 3-pointers to put us ahead of the competition. From that point on, we stayed in the lead and crushed the competition!
Victory tasted oh, so sweet, especially while chanting “Our House” at the top of our lungs as the defeated UNC players exited the court in shame.
I’m already looking forward to the upcoming rematch on March 9!