So I found out I was going down to North Carolina for a work-trip to the Duke Lemur Center and immediately looked forward to seeing Duke's campus and their basketball facilities. I knew UNC - their heated in-state rival - was nearby, but I had no idea HOW close until the day before my trip. It's like 15 minutes away! Shit. So I knew I had to hit both of them and luckily we had time to do it one afternoon. College basketball is probably my favorite team sport to follow, and while I have no particular affinity for either school or team (in fact, kind of loathe the fact that they're always good), I was pretty excited to check out both places. I was able to talk Desiree into it easily, she's a trooper. We first went down the road to Chapel Hill to hit UNC...
Nicely named after their legendary, long-time (RIP) coach, but otherwise not all that photogenic on the outside. No matter.
There was a huge bank of doors on the front, but only ONE with an actual handle on it, on the very far right end. I thought, no way that's gonna be open... but I had to try it. And it was not locked! There's some kind of security desk right inside the door, and so we asked if we could look around and they were just, like, sure. OK! We thought we were sneaking in, they probably get all kinds of touristy idiots poking around.
The court was straight-up open and accessible, which I was kind of surprised about. So we waltzed right into the seating area. The lower-level seats were not pulled out and there were multiple baskets out (set up for practice), but still... cool. I was psyched. Powder blue everything!
Yeah, they're pretty good. Fuckers. Little jealous.
Then we headed straight for Duke's campus and parked near the football stadium. We didn't have a detailed map and weren't entirely sure where the basketball arena was, but this coat of arms was on a building nearby. Not sure what's up with the blank dangling rectangles, though.
We eventually found Cameron Indoor Stadium, which is pretty small and sort of half-underground and fairly non-descript. We must have been at the back end because we didn't see a single damn sign for it. No matter, we found a bunch of doors... again, only one with a handle on the outside?! And it was open! Deja vu, baby. Their hallway was pretty neat. Much like UNC, they have a rich tradition of success on the court, and they like to tell you about it.
But hold up - they were having practice RIGHT THEN!
It was only a heavy banner, so I sneakily peeked through and snapped a picture of some dude... shirtless... on the bench.
Uh oh! Hope we don't get in trouble!
They have a really cool "museum" section right around the corner, which is pretty extensive.
Yeah, they're pretty good, too.
And really good at telling you about it. My Boilers have a tradition of success, too, but damn... we haven't even been to the Final Four since 1980. Duke's been to the Final Four 12 freakin' times - SINCE 1980. For fuck's sake, let someone else have a chance, eh?
There wasn't much in the way of noise coming out of the practice, so we peeked in again.
Must have been toward the end, or just having a shoot around or something. Saw a couple players, didn't hear any coaches. Nice banners.