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.
41 days down
1 to go
12 first year students
Just one more personal check was standing in my way of the Duke-Carolina game. Now don’t get me wrong, PChecks are a lot of fun, but by the end of a hectic week of school before spring break and six weeks of tenting, I was downright exhausted. Some say PChecks are just to have a fun time and reward tenters for their dedication, but I think it has a purpose. Duke basketball is special because it combines a rich history of winning with an unmistakable fan culture. Duke fans have experienced great successes, but like to have fun in the process. Last night was for partying, it got us prepared to put our entire spirit on the line against Carolina. But tonight was for a celebration of Duke basketball, a chance to remind Duke students where we’ve come from and where we expect to go.
Tonight was the night of the year students gather in Cameron to be addressed by Coach K and the team. But this year, there was a special bonus for us. Starting at 7:00 students packed into Section 17 for a private screening of Grant Hill and Christian Laettner’s documentary “Duke ’91 & ’92: Back to Back”. The film starts with the 1990 NCAA Championship loss to UNLV and takes you through the entire 1991 and 1992 seasons, with interview from countless Duke players, opponents, and analysts. The documentary is simply fantastic- it really takes you inside the minds of those players as the seasons unfolded, and gives you valuable insight into two of the greatest college basketball teams ever assembled. You get a great sense for how competitive Christian Laettner was from watching him speak in the documentary.
Getting to watch the film itself was great, but the experience of watching it in Cameron was unparalleled. The student section was filled to the brim as the line monitors provided us with free pizza. Across the court in Section 19 most of the team sat and watched the documentary with us from the bench. You could really tell that watching the ’91 and ’92 teams play was inspiring to them. Watching the film was an interactive experience. The crowd cheered when Duke won its first national championship and exploded when Christian Laettner hit the shot to beat Kentucky, but nothing compares to the crowd’s reaction to when Bob Knight called the Fab Five “The most overrated team in the history of basketball”. Be sure to check the documentary out when it airs on March 11 at 8:00 p.m. on truTV.
After the documentary was over, the team exited the floor to a rousing applause. It was then we saw that the team was not travelling alone this evening. Our current Blue Devils were accompanied by Rasheed Sulaimon, who has committed to Duke as a member of the Class of 2012, and Shabazz Muhammad, who is the No. 1 recruit in this year’s Rivals150. Shabazz received a warm reception from the crowd as he exited the court, but overall he seemed generally uninterested. Although the game is by far the most important thing going on this weekend, this game is also a crucial recruiting tool, so we’ll have much more on him and many other top recruits after the Carolina game.
It was now time for coach K to speak. First thing’s first, everyone else had to get out. This was to be a talk just between Krzyzewski and the Duke student body, so any members of the general public were required to leave. After a few minutes of grueling anticipation, Coach K and the entire team emerged from the locker room. Keep in mind there’s not much I can disclose because Coach K’s speeches to students are typically held to be private, but he told the Crazies that this was their game as much as it was the team’s. He wanted everyone taking ownership in the outcome of the game, and introduced to us a motto his team has carried with them all season, from Coach K’s time at West Point: one force, one fight. He spent a few minutes praising the hard work of the team’s only senior, Miles Plumlee, and Miles got a chance to thank the students one last time before his final home game. After Miles spoke Coach K let the team leave and talked to us for a few more minutes. It was one of the more inspiring speeches I’d listened to in quite some time. After he was finished, many students left to go outside while Duke and Carolina’s student managers took the court to play their annual basketball game.
I went outside to take in the sights in K-Ville for one final night. After watching an incredible documentary and sitting just a few feet away from the greatest basketball coach in history as he addressed us, I was pretty revved up for the game, to say the least. But at the same time, I was also very very tired, so I was just about ready for my last PCheck. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to wait too long for it. At midnight the siren rang, and tenters scattered around the parking lot for the third personal check. When the line monitors checked me off, I was guaranteed access to the Duke-Carolina game. After six weeks of tenting, my mission was very nearly accomplished.
Feeling as validated as ever, I headed straight home. It was time to get some sleep.
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