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I was a phone call away from never knowing any of you. When springtime rolled around in 2004, acceptance letters arrived in my mailbox from several schools I should have been ecstatic to attend. But there was one that I wanted more than all the others, and when I logged online to see if I had made the cut, I encountered the stomach-punch feeling that comes when you're placed on a college waitlist.
Precious few traditions span generations of Duke students and remain elements of our collective college identity.
Duke has relied upon the 3-point shot all season, but it was killer defense that pushed the Blue Devils past Georgia Tech despite their worst showing from behind the arc all season.
As sports fans, Duke students are a puzzling anomaly. They're hopelessly irrational yet somewhat sensible, traditional but still trendy, and, more than anything, just plain weird. They file into Cameron's wooden bleachers for men's matchups even Vegas won't touch and a small yearly slate of women's games. They pack Koskinen for the biennial men's soccer game against North Carolina and, especially now, for any chance to see Matt Danowski and Zack Greer on the same field. Hell, they even show up en masse to tennis matches. Strange? Sure, but that's not the most perplexing part.
With my feet inches from the threshold separating the open hatch of the United States Army Twin Otter airplane from the open sky, I glanced down at the sprawling North Carolina landscape 13,500 feet below me and wondered what the hell I had gotten myself into.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - While Irish eyes were smiling for the first time in five weeks following Notre Dame's 28-7 victory over Duke Saturday in South Bend, frowns painted the faces of a disappointed Blue Devil squad that recorded its 10th loss for the third consecutive season.
Today, Sergeant First Class Paul Tidwell will deploy a squad of first-year Army ROTC cadets to Baghdad, Iraq where they will engage enemy insurgents on a blistering desert battlefield for the first time in their lives. Despite the daunting task, the sergeant's orders don't seem to unsettle the students, who munch on cookies prepared by Tidwell's wife as they sit before him in t-shirts and shorts. The students won't need to trade in their civilian clothes for boots and body armor. They will conduct the whole mission in the friendly confines of the West Duke building's subterranean computer lab.
BALTIMORE - It was almost the perfect story.
Top-seeded Duke propelled its storybook season into the NCAA Championship game with a thrilling 12-11 victory over fourth-seeded Cornell (15-1).
Trailing 4-3 at halftime after a scoreless second period, the Blue Devils looked like a team in trouble.
Attackman Zach Greer scored five goals as the No. 3 Blue Devils (11-2) overcame sloppy offensive play to defeat No. 19 Army 11-5 Saturday at Koskinen Stadium.
RALEIGH - "Bittersweet."
Early in the third quarter of Duke's 11-9 victory over Johns Hopkins Saturday, attackman Matt Danowski lofted a cross-field prayer to fellow forward Zach Greer that seemed to have little chance of being caught.
It has been two years since Duke has faced Johns Hopkins, but the memories of that last outing could not be clearer for the Blue Devils.
Leading up to this weekend, things had not been easy for the Blue Devils.
Trailing by a goal with 50 seconds remaining, attackman Matt Danowski had a clean shot that could have tied the game.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Playing their first game following an emotional return to the field last weekend, the Blue Devils passed their first road test with flying colors.
As the Blue Devils walked off the field following their season opener Saturday, not a single player failed to flash a grin.
For the third straight year, Duke opens its season with the expectation of competing in the Final Four on Memorial Day Weekend.
Being the son of the coach is never easy.