Sweet Victory

*Note: I got all of these images from Blue Devil Planet (minus one from the Chronicle which I edited). I took a billion photos last night, but my little camera is nothing compared to some of these pics.*

Krzyzewskiville. (Shi-SHEF-ski-ville). I once won a $5 gift card to Ben & Jerry's because I could properly spell it. Many people have heard of it. But I would like to expose you to the pure craziness that makes up the Cameron Crazies.

Duke doesn't have a lottery system to get tickets for games like most colleges and universities. Instead, we wait in line. First come, first serve. All is fair, right?

It sure seems simple enough. However, take into consideration the reason that Duke students are so academically successful is because they are fiercely competitive. That competitive drive carries over into all aspects of life. They not only want to be the best in the classroom... they want to be the best at everything. It sounds intense, and well... it is.

Obviously, the most intense competition to get tickets occurs for the UNC game. Students get in groups of twelve and register their tent with the line monitors---the heads of K-ville. Then for one to two months (depending on when the UNC game is... this year was February; some years it's March), there must be at least two group members in the tent during the day and six at night. The line monitors call "tent checks" sporadically throughout the day (and all hours of the night) to verify that the required number of members are present. If a member of your group misses one tent check, you receive a strike. If anyone else misses another tent check, your tent is moved to the back of the line. No questions asked. The line monitors will call grace for the night (meaning everyone can go back & sleep in their rooms) if the temperature drops below 20 degrees or there's more than 2 inches of snow on the ground. All other conditions (rain, sleet, hail, etc.) are fair game.

I told you, this is serious business. We don't mess around.

No worries. For the less important games (Maryland, State, etc.), there is no tenting. There is, however, the "walk-up line." On the plus side, it only lasts a couple of days as opposed to an entire month. On the down side... you don't get a tent.

Nonetheless, if you beat everyone out in line, you get a coveted wristband and earn your way into Cameron Indoor Stadium.

After last night's game, I'm certain that every single one of those 700+ students that spent the past month in the snow in a tent would tell you that it was totally worth it :)

Then, of course, we have the bonfire. That's what we do at Duke. We win...and we burn things.

There's still a competitive aspect to the bonfire---fighting your way through hundreds of people for a spot on the bus in order to get there (I would like to take this moment to mention that I was the first person on the first bus to West. No lie. It was super strategic, and I've never been more proud).

And then... you celebrate. You chant & cheer & hug & relive the epic plays of the night. You find yourself wearing a t-shirt in 30 degree weather because the heat from the fire is so intense. You scream at the top of your lungs every time another bench gets burned. You crowd around until the wee hours of the morning, refusing to leave until the fire dies down, although it never does. And then? Then you wait in line at McDonald's for half an hour with 300 other students because nothing is more satisfying than defeating UNC AND enjoying some chicken nuggets & a sweet tea at 2AM :)

Oh yeah. I just went there.

I've been fortunate enough to experience three bonfires during my time at Duke, two from the UNC game & one from the national championship. I can promise you, they never lose their sense of epicness :)

"It's always a great day to be a Blue Devil. But today is extra special"