Meet senior Eric Stach—the Crazy fan in the front row of every men’s basketball game for the last four years and one of the residents of the first tent for the Duke-UNC game his entire Duke career. This year, to earn their spot, Stach and his tentmates began Black Tenting Jan. 19 and placed first in a competition among black tents that used data on attendance at games and scores in a trivia contest. The Chronicle's Hailey Cunningham sat down with Stach to talk about basketball, tenting tips and the half time Harris Teeter gift card challenge.
TC: Why do you tent?
ES: You’re just not going to get a better spot at any basketball game, and you really only get four chances to go to the Duke-Carolina game. I just want to make the most of that opportunity. I actually really enjoy the tenting process. Some of my best friends at Duke, I’ve met through K-Ville.
TC: What is your favorite part of tenting?
ES: I like Black Tenting when you have to have all 10 people out there. It’s a lot of great people out there, and you find random things to do. Like during tent checks, everyone goes to McDonalds. Every time, we order the 40-piece chicken McNuggets and a gallon of sweet tea. White tenting gets kind of boring, but during Black Tenting, I just love the interaction.
TC: And your least favorite?
ES: Definitely the walks back to the dorm in the morning because you’re always freezing. You can be bundled up, but it doesn’t matter—it’ll always be freezing. It sucks.
TC: Did you ever regret it?
ES: Never during tenting. The first night I ever spent in K-Ville, we were sleeping out for the Michigan State game my freshman year, and I was just sitting there and I thought, "Do I really want to do this?" I’d grown up being a basketball fan, but I still didn’t know if it was worth it—until I got to the game. And I’ve stuck with it ever since. You grow to love it. Even though it’s cold and it takes up most of your time, it’s totally worth it.
TC: Have you always been a Duke fan?
ES: We visited the campus for my sister when I was in sixth or seventh grade. And I was like, "This is here, and they have basketball. All right, it’s perfect." And that was that.
TC: Do you have a favorite memory associated with tenting?
ES: Freshman year was a lot of fun because we were down 14 [points] at half time before we rallied for a win [79-73]. I remember hanging out after the game, with my tent at the bonfire, just really happy that we’d made it there and really happy to be there.
TC: What’s your favorite part of the game?
ES: I love the Harris Teeter gift card challenge, where they come out at half time and they give someone a $50 gift card and all you have to do is jump around and wave your Harris Teeter VIC card. I think I’ve won it like 15 times in the last three years. I always do that because I just love Harris Teeter.
TC: Do you have any tenting tips?
ES: Bring a foldable chair—that’s crucial—and wool socks and Under Armor. I won’t go to K-Ville without those. Food points, too, so you can order a lot of food. But really just tent. Just do it.