The times they are a-changin'

A tailgate-less gameday football experience is just one of the many changes Andrew Beaton has noticed during his time at Duke.
A tailgate-less gameday football experience is just one of the many changes Andrew Beaton has noticed during his time at Duke.

I’ll always remember where I was when I heard the news. A change so radical, so sudden, how could they just do it over the summer without telling us?

Obviously I’m referring to the redesign of center court at Cameron Indoor Stadium. 

The “D” at center court is now white instead of blue! Is nothing sacred anymore? 

Ok, it may not have been the most eventful summer for Duke athletics. After all, we were spoiled last summer when we got to watch Coach K lead the world’s biggest basketball stars to gold for the second consecutive Olympic Games. And not being in the news during the summer is probably a good thing too, though who knows how long that will last: if Duke football continues to improve, will people start trying to pay the players for their autographs? I kid. 

Anyway, changing center court at Cameron may not seem like the biggest deal but things are always changing at Duke. 

For example, back in the day when I was a freshman (cue collective groan), we had this thing called Tailgate. It was Duke’s Hamsterdam. But that ended when the fun turned out to be dangerously fun (cue Ride of the Valkyries). They tried to replace it with something called Football Gameday, and there will probably be some emails about a new plan this year, but I’m not optimistic. At least the team is getting good and made a bowl game last year. That’s a big change too. 

And changes are coming to Wallace Wade itself in the near future, with a plan to finish the stadium’s bowl and remove the track. But if you ask me, they made the most important change in 2009 when they renovated the men’s bathroom so it was no longer just a giant trough. Gone are the days of wearing galoshes to games.

Change can also come from different places. The Cameron Crazies used to all scream the “O” in the national anthem when it was sung before games. They used to also chant “You suck!” at opposing players during pregame introductions. Then a message from Coach K was distributed on the K-Ville listserv asking the students to stop. And for the most part, they have. 

Things are different on the field too. Football games are fun, despite the absence of Tailgate. Duke has a legitimate chance at making a second consecutive bowl game this year. Maybe Steve Spurrier will start voting for Duke again in the coaches’ poll. He used to do that, another thing that has changed. 

I’m excited to see how the basketball team is different on the court this year too. We may have never seen a Duke basketball team with so much length and athleticism on the perimeter. Tyler Thornton D-ing up Harrison Barnes seems awfully long ago now. 

Campus is evolving as well. Notably, the school now uses two-ply toilet paper instead of one-ply. Also, Chick-fil-A and Subway are now gone, so it’s unclear where anybody will eat lunch. 

These changes may seem big or small to you, but here’s the good news: fall sports kick off in the next couple weeks as the dull days of summer wind down. After an uneventful summer, football season sounds good right now. 

Until then, just imagine how things could be different just a few years from now. Personally, I predict cronuts at football games, a reasonable Tailgate substitute once the Last of the Tailgaters (Class of 2014) graduates, and baby wipes replacing two-ply. And who knows? Maybe the basketball team will win its fifth national championship along the way. 


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