Duke Basketball Days

Duke has done it again.  On Monday night they clenched their 5th National Championship title in Men’s Basketball.  What a heart stopping game, too!  My house was filled with loud screaming and yelling as I cheered for Duke to pull ahead.  Somehow my children slept peacefully through all my loudness.  I couldn’t hold it in.  I had to yell for my Blue Devils!

Seeing them win another National Championship brought back so many memories from my days at Duke and the adventures of being a Blue Devil.  The two years I spent at Duke earning my Master’s degree were some very memorable years.

Divinity School was awesome and I learned so much.  I guess the one thing I didn’t really expect to happen while I was there was my transformation into a Cameron Crazie.  If you go to Duke and you love basketball you will become a crazed fan!

Graduate campout. Our home for a weekend in September. The Divinity School flag flying high in our tent area.

Graduate students have the opportunity every fall to spend a weekend “camping out” on campus in order for your name to be put into a lottery so that you “might” get season tickets to the Men’s basketball games.  The odds of your name getting drawn are not good so what most people do is get into groups and then split the tickets.  Of the two years I was there my name got drawn both times as did most of my friends in my group!  We got lucky.  So, we all got to go to a majority of the games.

Campout fun with Div School friends


So, what do you do while you camp out?  You get to hang out all weekend with your friends and have fun!  Cooking, sleeping, playing games, and of course, studying, made up the camp out fun.

The long lines to “check-in” when the air horn was blown.

The key to making sure your name is in the lottery is “checking in” every time that loud air horn is blown.  You never know when that air horn will go off, either.  Sometimes it was in the middle of the night.  Sometimes it was back to back and other times it was spaced far apart.  You really couldn’t leave all weekend because you didn’t want to miss out on having your name not in the lottery.  I think you could miss once, but more than that and your name wasn’t included for the ticket lottery.

Duke tradition is to burn the Quad benches every time we beat Carolina and when we win the National Championship

For two years I was turned into a Cameron Crazie.  I found myself yelling and screaming at games, getting together with friends for the away games and watching them at someone’s house, screaming at the tv (and sometimes jumping through the fake window that divided my living room and kitchen because I was so excited), spray painting my hair blue, going to the “burning of the benches” in the Quad every time we beat Carolina, getting excited every time I saw a player on campus, getting pictures made with my favorite players (Mike Dunleavy was always my fav), and just having a blast! Those were some fun times.  Check out the fun pictures at the end of this post.


After we just won the 2001 National Championship



I was fortunate to be in school in 2001 when they won their 3rd National Championship.  My friends and I gathered with tons of other Duke students inside Cameron Indoor Stadium to watch the championship game vs Arizona. The excitement inside that stadium was amazing and when we won it got crazy!!  I remember running out of the stadium and through campus to get to the Quad where they were burning the benches and dodging fireworks that were being shot through the crowd.  Duke fans are crazy!!  So awesome to get to experience something so cool like a National Championship while I was in school there.

The funny thing about all of this is that I considered not even going to Duke. I had some thoughts in that last semester of my undergrad that I didn’t need to go to seminary to go into the ministry.  I didn’t need a degree in Church Ministries to become a Youth or Children’s Director.  I’m glad those thoughts were short lived because I absolutely LOVED Divinity School and learned so much from my time there.  And I had I not gone, I would never have become a Dukie!

Bottom line from all this:  know that God has a plan for you and never doubt or second guess that plan.  You just have to be brave and be willing to take that first step into the unknown.  God will not let you go.  And you’ll even get to experience some “bonuses” from taking that step (like going to Duke basketball games).

If you went to school at Duke, what was a favorite memory for you?  I would love for you to leave a comment below.

Blue Hair!
Alycia and I with Mike Dunleavy
Friends on Coach K Court


We’re Number One!


Friends at a Duke game


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4 thoughts on “Duke Basketball Days

  1. Chris

    This was GREAT! I love the pictures, the memories are flooding back, and it is oh so fun!!! Duke Divinity school was more fun because of friends, like you!!!

    • Thanks for sharing your memories!! Go Duke!

  2. We were at Duke when they went back to back against Kansas. It was complete craziness for sure. Was especially exciting because we were from Kansas and even though we are back in the Land of Oz, we still cheer on the Dukies! So excited they made it once again! Proud to claim them!

  3. Jim

    Nesser, some of my fondest memories in life were those days/nights/weekends of Duke Basketball together. Those pictures and winning the 5th national championship Monday, brought back a lot of memories too. I look at the friendships that were made during campout, waiting in line before games, and getting together to watch away games on TV as priceless. I remember watching “the miracle minute” from your apartment and watching the 2001 Championship Game from Cameron. Some of the best memories!

    Thanks for sharing! I would love a copy of these pictures though…especially the one with us on Coach K Court…I don’t have that one.

    – Jim

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