Let’s be honest. I love sports. And I’ve had the great pleasure in my life to experience some pretty damn cool stuff.
I’ve kicked field goals at Cowboys Stadium. I’ve kissed the bricks at Indy Motor Speedway.
I’ve run the NYC Marathon twice. I’ve almost been detained (honest mistake) at Wembley Stadium in London. I’ve watched a beautiful sunset at the magnificent Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. I’ve sat pitch side at San Siro in Milan.
I’ve played Hazeltine National months before the Ryder Cup. I’ve watched the Knicks at MSG and the Lakers at Staples.
I went to old Yankees Stadium multiple times, and Wrigley, Churchill Downs, and the old Boston Garden just to visit.
I’ve seen Beckham, Zlatan, Kobe, Lebron, Tiger, and Phil play in person, and I’ve played Roy Williams one on one in basketball. I’ve been to The US Open and PGA Championship, and I’ve watched, steps away, as Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler inexplicably hit back to back hole in ones at Augusta.
But nothing, I mean nothing, quite compares to Cameron Indoor Stadium. I had the pleasure of going for the fifth time this week with my buds, so let me take you on a little trip.
Imagine you arrive in a town that, until recently, was as nondescript as the day is long. Then, as you meander closer to campus, you remember the world class hospital and university that is the entire reason you are there. After parking a mile away, you wander through campus, passing folks that may indeed change the world some day.
You snag a peek at the sun setting over the Duke Chapel. Then, you turn the corner and find yourself in Krzyzewskiville, the unspellable area right outside of Cameron. On this night, it was empty as students had gone home for the holidays. As you look at Cameron from the outside, you wonder if you are looking at a church, a high school gymnasium, or a place that is at the top of every sports fan’s bucket list.
As you enter, you tell yourself that you have arrived, even though you have arrived on four previous occasions. You can’t wait for the loudspeakers to play “Every Time We Touch” pregame as the crowd will go insane. You may or may not have been singing that to yourself all morning. You scout out Zion immediately, wondering what insane dunk he may throw down in warmups. On this night, it’s not about the game. Later in January and February, oh, it will be about the game.
But tonight, you sing, you dance, and you fist bump your boys, thankful for 35 year friendships. Imagine one of said friends used to work in Cameron, so he can get you down on the floor after the game, where you linger until it is just you and the players.
And then you walk back out into the cold, dark night wondering how in the hell three regular dudes from Wingate just spent a normal Tuesday night on the floor at one of the great sporting cathedrals in the world.
God, I love this stuff, and I can’t wait to see what’s next. Just please don’t invite me to the Dean Dome. I have absolutely no interest.
Have a great week, and Happy Holidays!-Benj
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