March 5th, 2012
How the hell did I make it into the student section at Cameron Indoor1 for the Carolina-Duke game? Well, I do happen to be a Duke student, so it’s not quite as impossible as it seems. But getting into that stadium was not an easy feat, let me tell you. And after going to the game, I’m not quite sure it was worth it.
Don’t get me wrong. I love that I was there to watch the eighteen-point beatdown that the Heels delivered the Devils on their home court last night. But for reasons to be discussed later, it was literally the most unpleasant way to watch a ball game that I have ever experienced.
But let’s start with how I got in. You may have heard of a ridiculous thing called Krzyzewskiville…an obnoxious display of “dedication”2 by the Duke undergrads in which they camp out for tickets in a mudhole in front of Cameron. Thankfully, the graduate students only have to camp out for thirty-six hours in a (relatively) clean and dry parking lot, and we get to do it in RVs and U-Hauls.
But I camped out for thirty-six hours to have my name put in a lottery for the chance to win the “privilege” of purchasing a season ticket to Duke basketball for $200. That’s right, my student ticket to this game was not free. And it came encumbered by seventeen other (useless) games that I, as a Carolina graduate and Tar Heel fan, would never want to see. So I had to make the effort to sell off all of the other games on that ticket for the pre-set price of $10 each.3 I wasn’t able to sell all of the other games, so it cost me about $80 to see last night’s match-up. Not a bad deal for seats that close, right?
Wrong. Aside from the fact that I am a broke student and having to pay for student tickets to a basketball game is ridiculous, those seats are not worth anything unless you are in one of the three front rows or are taller than 6’2”. I repeat: The student section tickets at Cameron Indoor are not worth squat if you intend to actually watch the basketball game. So Tar Heels, quit complaining about your nosebleeds because those are a thousand times better than the tickets Duke students get. At least you can watch the game—I got to watch the backs of two dudes who kept annoyingly leaning back and invading my personal space.4
It was even worse because the people around me were not normal basketball fans; they were Cameron Crazies. This may be my Carolina fandom talking, but some of them were the most obnoxious fans I have ever had the misfortune of being surrounded by while I view a sporting event. I would rather have watched a Red Sox game while sitting in Fenway wearing a Yankees jersey. Okay, maybe not, but I would consider it. To everyone—and there were many—who had one of those enormous signs (especially those obnoxious giant head cutouts) and kept holding it up during gameplay: I hate you. And the hundreds of people behind you who can’t see hate you too. You are an inconsiderate jerk.
The Crazies’ sense of entitlement was absolutely appalling. Any reasonable basketball fan would agree that the amount of fouls called against both teams last night was absurd. But the Cameron Crazies still became belligerent every single time a Duke player went up to the basket and there was no whistle. It didn’t matter if the closest Carolina player was ten feet away drinking a soda (which they weren’t because from what I hear they were playing some damn good ball. I don’t know personally because I couldn’t actually see the game). The Crazies wanted the call, and they wanted it now. Their attitude about the scoreboard was equally entitled. It was like the universe owed them one of Duke’s miracle comebacks; every time Duke cut Carolina’s lead to less than 20 points, the Crazies cheered like they had just tied the game. With sixish minutes to go and the lead down to fifteenish, the guy next to me even said, “Oh, we’ve got this! We’ve got too much time.” They acted like every basket was the shot that would turn the game around and give them one of their dumb-luck wins. It was probably more annoying just because I am a Tar Heel, but it bolstered Duke students’ reputation as spoiled rich kids, deserved or undeserved as it may be.
As unpleasant as my game-watching experience was from a logistical perspective, the Tar Heel victory almost made it worth it. As the clock ticked down and the Heels’ lead wasn’t getting any smaller, the Crazies got quiet. With two minutes left, their energy, which had been slowly fading during the game and which they had been strategically conserving during TV time-outs, was gone. It was satisfying to see the Heels stick it to them.
Thank you, Kendall, Tyler, John, Harrison, Reggie, and the rest of the team, for making me proud last night. Thank you for making my miserable, sweaty, smelly, semi-hostile viewing experience that much better and keeping me from boycotting the Grad Student Campout next year (Don’t tell Rogers that I was planning a boycott too. I can’t let him think he comes up with all the ideas).
You all will be glad to know I kept it classy. Unlike my friends after the last game, I didn’t trash-talk or snidely ask people how they were feeling after the game. I even clapped for Miles Plumlee as he walked off the court for the last time. I represented the Carolina Tar Heels in as refined a way as possible while walking through the throngs of eerily quiet and ludicrously painted-up Crazies after the game.
But next year, a couch, a pizza, and some other UNC fans might be the way to go.
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