Dear David Sotolongo, Class of ‘82,
At sixty years old, it’s understandable to look back on the “good old days” of K-Ville in its infancy and lament that the young people of today aren’t honoring your legacy with enough fervor. I, alongside many current students appreciate your sentiment—you, like us, want Cameron to be crazy. Many of us agree that our energy in the student section could be better, and efforts are always being taken, systematically and individually, to improve attendance and hype-up the line. We are not “only interested in Duke basketball if we are undefeated.” There are several hundreds of students sleeping outside on this crisp thirty-eight-degree night that would be (and have been, trust me) rolling their eyes in response to your letter.
I encourage you to go back and watch Duke highlights from the 1982 season. After noticing the lack of a three-point line, you might find that Cameron was hardly more crazy then than it is today. No jumping up and down on defense? No chants on offense? What is going on?
In 1980, it cost $4,230 to go to school here. Admissions rates for top-tier universities were vastly higher than the mind-numbing 5.7% of regular decision acceptances offered this year. The Duke you attended is not our Duke, and I ask you to consider, just for a moment, that academic life for current students is somewhat less conducive to attending Tuesday night basketball games against teams in the bottom half of our conference than it was when you were a student.
Maybe then you can understand why it’s so infuriating to open our newspaper and read mean-spirited statements like “I am appalled” and “Shame on you.” On Tuesday, we were screamed at and embarrassed on national television by a seventy-two year old multi-millionaire that we literally, literally worship, for an innocuous (and I would even say friendly) chant, then afterwards we had to read the tweets and reddit posts calling us cowards for our reactions. Our elders have hardly been kind to us. Though many of us have idolized Coach K since birth and are quick to forgive him, your words of anger are those of a stranger.
Empathize with us young people if you can. Your generation represents all that we resent—the jobs we can’t have, the futures you have stripped away from us, the planet you have ensured will be uninhabitable by the time we are left with it. If you wrote a letter calling for students to stay away from Duke basketball games it would be more effective in increasing attendance. We as students are tired of people like you telling us how much worse Cameron is now than it used to be, not just because it isn’t true—and it isn’t—but because we sincerely don’t care about your complaints. We want to improve the student section because it is our student section. The players on the court are our friends and our classmates.
I write this because I want you to know that we do care about Cameron, and the team, and K-Ville. I write this because I care. Shame on you.
Jaxson Floberg is a Trinity senior and line monitor.