I am not a die-hard sports fan by any means, but I enjoy going to sporting events a few times a year, and this was something that I considered when moving to Durham. When I was living in New York, I had the Yankees, Mets, Jets, Giants, Devils, Rangers, Knicks, and Nets all a stone’s throw away, and I wanted to keep the game-going tradition up wherever I moved. Going into business school at Duke, I googled major sports teams and was dismayed to find out that most teams were 2 hours away in Charlotte, with the exception of the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. However, I quickly learned that my logic was flawed because Duke Basketball wasn’t on my radar …
Admittedly, I did not know much about Duke basketball or even NCAA Basketball before coming to Durham. I went to a Division III undergrad (Brandeis!) with no sports presence, and I competed in the occasional March Madness office tournament pool, but that was the extent of my college basketball knowledge. Last year, I willingly participated in Campout for roughly 6 hours and didn’t make a valiant effort to win tickets. In fact, I didn’t actually go to a game until January 2012, when a classmate handed me a ticket. However, from then I was hooked and made it to 4 games last year.
This year, I won season tickets (through a Campout exemption due to a wedding) and went to many more games, including the Duke/UNC game in Cameron. The layout of Cameron Indoor Stadium (only seats 9,314) and the energy from the fans is unlike any other sporting event that I have ever been to. The Cameron Crazies are on their feet the whole time and constantly cheer, sing, and make hand signals for Duke. There is Crazy Towel Guy, a lifelong Duke fan who will stand on his feet and whip out his towel during every game. There are even celebrity sightings at the games, with Peyton Manning, Rob Lowe, Doc Rivers, and Dick Vitale making known appearances in the past couple of years. The intimate environment of Cameron combined with the Crazies and the dominance of the men’s basketball team and Coach K makes going to basketball games some of the most fun I’ve ever had at a sporting event.
I hadn’t been to a professional hockey game since I was 9 or 10 years old, until this year. The MBA Association held a lottery for Carolina Hurricanes tickets, and gave out 100 tickets to Fuqua students for a game against the Winnipeg Jets. Unfortunately, I did not win the ticket lottery, but one of my friends did and gave me her ticket.
Although our seats were high in the upper deck, it was still fun to watch some hockey, check out a new arena, and root for the home team. A few weeks later, I went back to the PNC Bank arena to watch the Hurricanes play the NJ Devils. A small group of us wanted to go check out the Devils game and Duke had great tickets available for $20/piece. Being from NJ, I had to root for the Devils who ended up winning the game. I don’t know if I’ll see any more games before I leave N.C., though I am glad that I was able to check it off my bucket list and remind myself that hockey is fun to watch in person.
I have been to 2 or 3 Durham Bulls games since coming to Fuqua, and although they are not a Major League baseball team (they’re Minor League), the games are fun and every seat in the house is a good seat. Also, since the Durham Bulls stadium is right next to American Tobacco (a former tobacco factory that’s been converted into cool shops and restaurants), there is ample parking in the area and lots of bars/restaurants to go to before and after the games.
So, for all you sports fans — don’t overlook the Triangle area. Your Durham bucket list should include going to games with all of these teams!