October 18, 2009
I’ve been a fan of Duke as long as I can remember watching college basketball. Back then I didn’t have a connection to any of the teams in the tourney each year so I had to pick one of the teams that had a chance. Duke stood out thanks to Laetner, Hill, and my favorite college basketball player ever, Bobby Hurley. I guess I was still young enough to think, ‘maybe I can play.’ I’d have to grow quite a bit to get to Bobby Hurley size, but that was more realistic than wanting to be a center.
In college my allegiance waned for a couple of reasons. First, I had the glorious Penn State basketball team to cheer for (I was a senior in HS the last time they made the tourney). There was also the Philly basketball teams coming back. Huge years from Nova and St. Joe’s along with Temple continuing to hang around. The real reason, the major college basketball teams became impossible to root for, especially Duke and UNC. They were becoming the Yankees, getting all the top recruits and having most of them leave after a year or two. How can you connect with a team where the players leave before you get to know them? I had no other connection to Duke.
I still love those teams from back then. Duke still gets my cheers when they aren’t playing PSU or one of my Philly teams. Then there is the Duke/UNC epic battles. I enjoy few things more than seeing UNC lose.
There is also a little place called Cameron Indoor. When I went to visit my sister in Chapel Hill and we were out shopping I mentioned that we were near Duke and we should check it out. It was a Saturday but Duke football was playing at NC State. So the area was deserted. First stop was the football stadium, Wallace Wade Stadium. It was wide open and you could go all the way down to the track. I really like the schools where they let you wander the stadium whenever, PSU doesn’t allow it.
After checking out the football stadium I tried to contain my excitement while heading to Cameron Indoor. This is a pretty special place, so I wasn’t going to be surprised when the doors were locked. They weren’t! Walking in it reminded me of Rec Hall at Penn State and the Palestra, which shouldn’t be that surprising. After inside, the first door we tried was locked, but I suspected that the upper level wouldn’t have doors to the seats. I was correct and there was Coach K Court. The volleyball net was set and there was a women’s volleyball game scheduled for that night. In fact, when we were leaving we passed the Florida State girls team coming into the lobby.
Connected to Cameron Indoor is the Duke Hall of Fame. Inside are tributes to all the great athletes and all the championship trophies. Including a shrine to Coach K and his 3 national championships.
The rest of the Duke campus was very nice. We wandering around looking for a book store so I could get a Duke Basketball shirt. Turned to out be what my sister had been planning on getting me for my birthday. So I got to pick out the one I wanted, and she got to pay. There was some sort of festival going on in the quad. It was something called Joe College Day. I wasn’t familiar with the band on stage but I looked at the shirts people were wearing and saw that Cage the Elephant would be coming up later. Pretty good get, in my opinion. We didn’t stick around to see them.
The visit definitely moved Duke onto the short list of MBA schools if I decide to apply again.