Through the Robertson scholarship program, I (bizarrely) possess a Duke student ID in addition to my One Card. Over winter break I sent a couple of earnest emails to friends at Duke and landed a spot in one of the 12-person tent groups in Krzyzewskiville — my temporary home beginning Jan. 11.
Duke’s tenting season is structured in three consecutive phases that get progressively easier. Students can join the line at any point, but the earlier you join, the better your seats are. If I’m doing this thing, I figured, why not go all out?
The first week of tenting required me to spend six nights in the tent and to occupy it for an accumulated total of 26 daytime hours. I spent 11 nights of the next three weeks in the tent — plus about 10 daytime hours each week. Never have I been more grateful for 20-minute naps on the Robertson bus.
“Isn’t it awful?” everyone asks. The worst part of tenting isn’t treading behind enemy lines — the Dukies are really okay if you get to know them. The worst part isn’t the time commitment —K-ville has Wi-Fi! The worst part isn’t having to face below-freezing temperatures and the discomfort of sleeping on the ground.
It’s the unpredictable tent checks, signaled by a siren, that are conducted at random hours to maintain the integrity of the line throughout the day and night. One night I stumbled from my sleeping bag across Kville to check in with the line monitors no less than four times: at 11:30 p.m., at 1 a.m., at 3 a.m. and at 6 a.m.
“But what color will you wear?” everyone asks, eyes wide with the implications of either option.
Wearing royal blue in this context is out of the question. Wearing Carolina Blue among the Cameron Crazies would put my personal safety at risk. I’ve resolved to walk the line with a plain white shirt.
But you can rest assured — though surely not as soundly as I will rest tonight — that when I stand on my well-earned spot on the second row of bleachers in Cameron, I will be rooting for the team that wears the same color as the sky under which I tented for six weeks.
What do you call someone who’s crazier than the Cameron Crazies? Easy: a Carolina Crazy. Go Heels!