Tales From The Tent: Day 7- Losing Momentum

My fellow Crazies, after a long wait it is finally that time of year- it’s tenting season. I will be bringing you a step by step account of my tenting experience for the next six weeks to give you an inside look at the most sacred tradition at Duke University- tenting.

7 days down
34 to go
12 first year students
1 dream

So I know what you’re thinking…the opening of my tenting diary ran about three weeks ago, so how are we only at day seven now? The obvious answer is I got behind on my tenting diaries, but it wasn’t due to pledging or school. In fact, there’s a pretty good reason for it. It’s a long story, in fact it will take multiple posts to complete, but here goes nothing:

Our first week of tenting was finally drawing to a close. After surviving the elements, our first roster substitution, and the perils of scheduling for our first seven days, it was time for us to enter the next phase of tenting- games. As I outlined in my overview of the tenting rules, tenting is about much more than being in the tent day and night. For tents like us that began on the first night of the black or blue tenting period, our tent number (which is our spot in line) is determined purely by game attendance. For blue tents, there are six home games (four men’s and two women’s) that count toward our tent number. There are twelve members in each tent, and for every member that attends a game, your tent receives a point. You do the math- that’s a total of 72 possible points over the course of three weeks. For the eight other blue tents that started the first night with us, the next three weeks would determine the order of tents 12 through 19. Our goal was to have every tent member at every game so we could be first in line behind the black tents.

Our first tenting game was January 28 when Duke was set to take on St. John’s. The morning started like many other had over the course of our first week- with a tent check. The siren rang around 6:45 a.m., painfully early for a Saturday morning, but this wasn’t just any Saturday morning- it was game day. I had been sleeping in the tent the previous night, so I emerged from my tent after about three hours of sleep with five of my tentmates and passed the check. After we passed the check, we were given grace until after the game, but for most of us that didn’t mean we could simply leave. Game days during tenting season are interesting because they are where the practices of lining and tenting collide.

Lining for normal games is a common practice for Duke students, and the rules are simple: you register at any point on a game day with a group of two to six people and receive a group number, and from that point onward half of your group has to be in K-Ville. The twist though, during tenting season, line monitors are adamant that there is a difference between being in line and being in your tent. Many groups will register the night before an ACC game, but in order to do that they will be forced to leave the “comfort” of their tents and sleep on the sidewalk in front of Cameron. Many die-hards that aren’t currently tenting will choose to participate in this as well, but in a way tenting actually puts you at somewhat of a disadvantage when it comes to lining.

So after the check we immediately moved ourselves over to the sidewalk and registered in line. Many took this opportunity to get some extra sleep, bringing their sleeping bags along with them. By registering all six of us into two separate groups, all twelve members of our tent were guaranteed to make it into the first tenting game. I know it seemed like we had quite a bit of time to kill before gametime, but keep in mind that this was a 12:00 p.m. tip, so we’re used to being in line for longer periods of time. For this game the doors would open at 10:30 a.m., so it was just a few hours to kill. Luckily, there was some excitement in K-Ville to keep us awake and entertained. Around 7:30 K-Ville came alive when a group of pledges from another fraternity came to perform their pledge task for the day- create an awesome pregame atmosphere in K-Ville. They succeeded, breaking out two large speakers and blasting some music to get the blood flowing. Not to mention they brought cornhole, and who doesn’t love a good game of cornhole. As the morning wore on people began to mill around and get ready for the game as the line grew. Before I knew it, I was in the midst of the best pregame atmosphere I’d encountered all year. There was a certain electricity in the air, but no pressure. We were all just there to have a good time.

Andre Dawkins added 14 points in Duke's win over St. John's (photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet)

After an exciting morning capped off by a free Bojangles breakfast courtesy of the line monitors, it was time to go get Crazie. The doors to Cameron opened as students flooded in. After our usual 90 minute wait in the stands, the game finally got underway and Duke jumped out to a huge lead in the first half. They were firing on all cylinders, and it looked as though they were mounting an emphatic response after their home loss to Florida State. Not only did the team look great in the first half, but St. John’s was certainly one of the most entertaining teams we had faced this season. Their roster was like a list of examples of what not to name your firstborn son, headlined by guys named Gods’gift Achiuwa and Sir’Dominic Pointer (who immediately became a crowd favorite and actually flipped the Crazies the double bird after he fouled out). The team struggled mightily in the second half, however, mostly on the defensive end. St. John’s Moe Harkless went off in the second half en route to 30 points and 13 rebounds. The Red Storm were able to close the gap to single digits, but it was too little too late as the Blue Devils escaped with an 83-76 win. After the game Coach K was clearly upset with the team’s performance in the second half, as he should have been. The team was equally disappointed with its defensive effort in the past, and treated the game almost like it was another loss.

Speaking of losses…here comes the part of the story where you start to figure out what set me back so far in my tenting diaries. I was in the midst one of my busier days of the year on the day of the St. John’s game, but it was all about to come to a grinding halt. I had spent most of the morning working on a feature for The Chronicle, where I serve as one of the beat writers for the women’s basketball team. I had spent most of the week compiling interviews for it, and it was set to run first thing Monday morning. I had scheduled to have it copy edited at the office directly following the game, so as soon as the game let out I went over to my tent to grab my stuff and head over. Only problem was, my bag wasn’t there. After spending a solid 15 minutes searching the tent to see if it had ended up getting moved around by one of my tentmates before the game, there was still no sign of it. I went outside to start calling other members of my tent to see if someone had picked it up by mistake, but it was to no avail. My bookbag had been stolen out of my tent from K-Ville during a Duke game. Not only was my bag gone, but my laptop, camera, and keys to my room were inside it as well.

So there’s your explanation as to why it’s taken me so long to get back to writing, and unfortunately why there are very limited pictures left over from these days. If you think this is the last you will hear of this story, think again, there is certainly more. Luckily I was able to carry on for the rest of that day without a computer and did not have any schoolwork that was due on it, though my feature was lost and would never see its day in print. There was nothing left to do, so all I could do was sit in the chair outside of my tent in utter disbelief. What I had previous thought was impossible had happened- someone had violated the sanctity of K-Ville. It was a bitter ending to an otherwise eventful day.

Be sure to check out the rest of Dan’s tenting diary! Links galore below:

Pre-tenting: It Begins
Day 1: Welcome to K-Ville
Day 2: From Dusk ‘Til Dawn
Day 4/5: Into The Storm
Day 7: Losing Momentum
Day 9: The Other Side of Duke Basketball
Day 12/13/14: You Win Some, You Lose, Some
Day 15: The First Taste
Day 18: Insanity
Day 26: When One Comeback Isn’t Enough
Day 29/30: I’ve Been Dreaming Of A White Tenting
Day 35/36: Taking Out The Trash
Day 40: It Gets Personal
Day 41: One Force, One Fight
Day 42: Go To Hell Carolina