My oldest son is a freshman at Duke University.
Duke is a wonderful school, and I'm grateful for Will to be there. Of course I knew that Duke men's basketball was a big deal. I knew that Duke's rivalry with the University of North Carolina was a big deal. But I had no idea just how much of a big deal it is.
Duke plays Carolina twice during the regular basketball season. These are always good games. Both Duke and Carolina have won multiple national championships, with Carolina's most recent championship being just last year. So the Duke-Carolina games are important. How important, though, I never understood until this year.
See this? This is a photo I snapped with my phone just a couple of nights ago. This is a scene from "Krzyzewskiville," named for Duke's famous basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. The gray and blue tent on the left side of the photo is currently my son's home.
The Duke Blue Devils play basketball in Cameron Indoor Stadium, a beautiful but small arena. Students must stand in line in order to gain admittance to home basketball gains. And for the Duke-Carolina game, the "line" starts six weeks before the game. Believe it or not, the students live in tents for six weeks in order to secure their places in line.
The "tenting" system is very organized. Students band together with their friends to form tent communities of 12 people per tent. One student must be in the tent at all times, subject to random tent checks. And six students must sleep in the tent every night in order to hold their places in line.
Can you imagine? Sleep in a tent in January and February? Seriously?
Yes, seriously. And although I can't imagine doing it myself, I'm glad that my son has the chance to be part of such a tight-knit community. I have a feeling that twenty or thirty years from now, when he's telling his kids about his college days, tenting will be a story he tells and retells. Long after other memories fade, this one will likely remain fresh.
So have at it, Duke fans. No one knows how the Big Game will go each year. But the students will be there, doing their part to pull for the team. And assuming he doesn't get sick from sleeping outdoors during the winter, my son will be there, loving every minute of it.
What more could a mother want?