Finding myself in Krzyzewskiville

Assistant sports editor Aaron Taube spends a night behind enemy lines

kville

Aaron Taube It’s ya boy!

Last Saturday night I went behind enemy lines at Krzyzewskiville, the tent village outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium, for the final night of tenting.

I told my editors I was looking for a story about the living conditions faced by the 1,200 students who spent the past month sleeping in the blistering cold and sidestepping a moat of mud and discarded beer cans. But really, I went because I was curious.

After a month of wear and tear, most tents were ramshackle at best, with one being nothing more than a tarp held up by duct tape and a pole. But students made the best of things, throwing together makeshift beer pong tables and turning a long table and speakers into Players on a fundraiser night. It was a giant party at the world’s wealthiest refugee village, and one I am sad to report I thoroughly enjoyed.

To clarify, I love UNC dearly and the past four years have been, without question, the best of my life.

And yet, in many ways I am a walking, talking Duke stereotype. I grew up in a Jewish household on Long Island, a breeding ground for Duke students. I wear glasses and often forget to unbutton my top shirt button. I once failed a field sobriety test while stone-cold sober.

Even after three years of guzzling sweet tea and learning to differentiate between barbecue styles, I couldn’t help but wonder if I should have taken my parents’ advice and applied to Duke.

A few of the students I tried to interview wrinkled their noses and refused to speak with the DTH, but I made friends with almost everyone else I met.

While most Dukies had unkind words for the UNC basketball team, none of them seemed to hate the University itself.

As one fairly intoxicated girl put it: “I respect you, and I respect what you do.” Her friend added: “But we’re ready to burn some benches.”

And even then, K-ville isn’t about Duke basketball so much as it is community. People were excited about tonight’s game, but one student asked me to clarify what I meant by “Dean Dome,” and another openly admitted to having no interest in basketball.

Those who spent more than 50 unsanitary hours in K-ville did not do so out of affection for a game or a team, but out of love for their school and its most famous tradition.

And as I watched the students on their impromptu dance floor, I thought for a moment that I might have liked to be up there with them — that maybe despite my best efforts, I might have been a Blue Devil all along.

But when sirens called the tenters to an adjacent parking lot to be counted for the final time, the residents of K-ville celebrated their freedom with a chant that felt like an assault.

“Go to hell, Carolina, go to hell!” they yelled.

And as they cussed out my priceless gem, I realized I wasn’t quite the same as them, after all. Maybe four years ago, but not now.

Not after going hoarse celebrating Tar Heel victories from the fifth-floor balcony of Craige, or idling in Polk Place on that perfect spring day when the Frisbees fly and the sunlight catches the sundresses just right.

And I certainly won’t be like them three months from now when I graduate with the finest set of friends and connections I ever could have asked for.

So Duke, I respect you, and I respect what you do. But if it’s you or us, well, every last one of you can go to hell.

Contact Aaron Taube at ataube@email.unc.edu.

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