Tuesday, February 16

Go team

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?

--Unwrapped with Emily at Chatting at the Sky


  1. No wonder those Duke students jump up and down the whole game: they've been freezing for 6 weeks and are trying to warm up! O. My. Word. Those tents. That is unbelievable! And so cool.

    And I'll try to pretend I don't know you're a Duke fan ;)

  2. This Carolina fan can still appreciate what fans will do to see a great game. Ah, college life...

  3. I knew you had to have a fault hidden somewhere. ;) A Duke fan, huh?

    I come from a line of Tarheels...and I married into a Tarheel family. ;)

    I think we can still be friends. ;)

    And I am soooo glad I'm not a crazy college student anymore!!!

  4. I love college students and their willingness to do things they probably wouldn't do at any other point in life...they are making great memories!

    I don't envy those cold nights on the tent floor though...wow.

  5. oh my gosh! i love this! how cool that they have built their own tent town... all for the love of basketball and Duke :) wow. i suppose these will be his "fish" stories in the years to come!

    oh you silly girl... speechless? your thoughts and kindness really got me through my week. :)

  6. Wow! That is amazing to me. And so funny. Seriously. Funny stuff. The rules of engagement (six students sleeping there, one present at all times, subject to a random tent-check). Makes me want my kids to go Duke, just for the memories they can make.And so they'll appreciate the warmth of a dorm room when it's all said and done. ;)

  7. I know all about the Duke / Carolina craziness but had no clue about the tents!!! Unbelievable.

  8. That is amazing! SIX WEEKS? I had no idea. What a fun little glimpse into what those students go through to see a basketball game. I'm sorry. I meant THE basketball game.

  9. We live in South Carolina, so I've heard a bit about the Duke basketball craziness. While it wasn't at Duke, my husband was one of those crazy college students who did unbelievable things out of dedication to our team. I love listening to him relive those moments with our seven-year-old. You're right; great memories and stories being made.

  10. My son went to UNC. Need I say more? Those tented nights will make for wonderful memories!
    Isn't it great that bloggers are all on the same team!!

  11. How cool! Those will make great memories and is such a great metaphor for the type of community Jesus wanted the church to embody in Acts!

  12. I love reading you and Dawn - a little glimpse into my future. :)

    Thanks for sharing your stories.


  13. I had no idea! Thanks for the education...what great fun and an excellent way to practice community and bring unity amongst the students.


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