Any sports fan will tell you the Duke-UNC rivalry is the greatest in college sports, maybe even the best in all of American sports. Even though I didn’t attend Duke during my undergraduate years, I have always respected the competition between the two Tobacco Road rivals. Both schools have storied histories of college basketball dominance. In addition to its four national championships, Duke has a tradition of conducting itself like champions off the court, too. The greatest player in the history of basketball, Michael Jordan, attended UNC and led it to a national championship in 1982.
Duke students get into games free if they show up early. I’ve already gone to five home games and all I had to do was show up a few minutes before tipoff – I still gained admission. There is a special grad student line that hands out more than 100 tickets to every home game.
On Saturday, March 3, Duke hosted UNC at Cameron. This was my chance to take part in a tradition. I checked on Stub Hub to see how much tickets were selling for. The going rate for a student seat was $2,000. Way too high for me, but I had no intention of showing up several hours early and waiting in line alone, so a fellow MMSer, Pierre Hagege from France, joined me about an hour before the game.
The game started at 7:00. At 6:55, Cameron staff informed us they had no more tickets and that we’d have to watch the game somewhere else. The approximately 50 people who didn’t get in were extremely disappointed. I actually felt like crying.
About 35 folks quickly bolted for the bars, leaving a small group of loyal Cameron Crazies at the gates. After pleading with staff to let us in, they did! Not only were we let in through the gates, but we got legitimate seats, too! MMSer Daniel Dykes and I were placed at the front of the upper section, behind a backboard. These seats were easily going for $4,000 on Stub Hub, and we got them for free!
As I mentioned in a previous post, the happiest moment of the MMS experience was when Austin Rivers hit a buzzer three-pointer to beat UNC. Once I got the ticket in my hand for this game, though, I felt like a kid with unlimited access to candy during Christmas.
As far as the actual game went: that’s another story. It wasn’t pretty for Duke. All that matters is I attended a Duke-UNC game in Cameron. That’s something I will cherish forever.