A night in the life of a Cameron Crazy

Decked out in true blue and white, with war paint on my cheeks and winning ribbons in my hair, I marched proudly into Cameron Indoor Stadium for my first basketball game.

Spectators gathered near the doors gawked and took videos, witnesses to a tradition bordering on ritual. Some UNC fans clustered there, shrieking something we couldn’t hear—but we shrieked back at them. Then in through the doors we went, up into the stands pressing claustrophobically onto a narrow strip of hardwood, waving at the cameras stationed throughout the stadium.

It was a magical moment.

And it quickly turned insane.

That is, it turned CAMERON CRAZY.

That Cameron Craziness is a special brand of madness is something already obvious when you see in on T.V. But when you’re in the middle of it, you understand that it’s been grossly underestimated on the small screen. This is how it is. You realize that you are even madder—crazier—than you ever thought you could be, and that everyone around you is just as or even more off their rockers. The Blue Devil possesses the crowd and turns it into a screaming, stomping, writhing, howling, flailing, frothing Legion. We’re a Leviathan of blue and white, with scales of fabric, bells, skin, paint, papier mache, posters, wigs, and horns. It’s Chaos, and we revel in it.

You scream and scream until your voice cracks and breaks, but you keep screaming even when no sound comes out. You teeter on your 6-by-6 inches of bench, slamming down on the wood with both feet (miraculously, it doesn’t break). You reach the end of your voice and your strength—but the ball goes to the other team and suddenly you find you have more untapped wells of decibels and fortitude.

In the first half, that terrible first half, I despaired and felt I couldn’t cheer on anymore. But my friends and I just couldn’t stop. We had to give it our all. If we lost, I would chalk it up to the fact that I just hadn’t cheered enough. And thinking of everyone unable to make it to the game, screaming at screens, I just had to push out another, “LET’S GO DUKE” for their sakes.

During half-time, we sat murmuring in the stands, tired and worried. All those days and nights in the tent. All those scrambles for the siren. Could it have all been for naught?

In those moments I realized that no matter the result, I was proud to be here. I had taken on the extremes of my first time in a tent (ever!). I had partaken in one of Duke’s most honored traditions. I had been passionate, been crazy, and I knew with each cheer that I was living a wonderful moment of my life, and that it was good.

Cheer after cheer and taunt after taunt—what are we saying now? It’s something between “GTHC “ and “D-U-K-E,” but it all melds into a single concentrated will for domination. You punch towards the ceiling and grapple at the court, as if by sheer will you can force that ball where you want it to go. A ridiculous notion—but it works.

Something I realized as I hollered the age-old, “DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE”—it wasn’t just the players that were defending the hoop. Our voices formed a barrier as well. Whatever energy we were channeling was pushing our boys towards their goals. Our glares forced the numbers on the scoreboard to go up—or stay down.

Then we start pulling ahead. We get buckets. The person next to you (who you’ve never seen before) hugs you in wild happiness, people behind you bluster with excitement, the guys in front of you hold their breath, everywhere in the stands is a roiling mass of relief, anticipation, and craziness.

And finally—


Side note to the game:

I've come down with a terrible cold and I've got a ton of work to do, but every single moment at Cameron was worth it. GTHC.


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