How I got front-row seats to the Duke-UNC game

How I got front-row seats to the Duke-UNC game

An hour-long test, trips to multiple wrestling matches and many nights in the cold have all brought me to this point: My friends and I will be in the front row at the Duke-UNC basketball game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday.  Throughout my six-week stay at Krzyzewskiville, the tent city at Duke University, I’ve realized

From right to left: Jake Malone, Alex Johnson, Guillermo Sauk Hevia, and Chris Van Buren posing with the Krzyzewskiville sign one night during black tenting.

An hour-long test, trips to multiple wrestling matches and many nights in the cold have all brought me to this point: My friends and I will be in the front row at the Duke-UNC basketball game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday. 

Throughout my six-week stay at Krzyzewskiville, the tent city at Duke University, I’ve realized that most people don’t understand what students have to do to get coveted basketball tickets. There are two extremes: They think I spend one night in a tent, or they think I leave the tent only when I have classes and am never allowed to return to my dorm.

The reality is much more complicated. So I’m trying to clarify tenting facts from fiction.

How long do students stay in K-ville? 

There are three main types of tenting: black, blue and white. 

Black tenting is the longest. It started Jan. 12 and ended Feb. 22. There are twelve people in every group, and for the first two weeks, two people must be there at all times during the day. Ten people must sleep there overnight from 2:30 a.m. until 7 a.m.

Blue tenting starts two weeks later. One person must be there at all times during the day, and six at night.

White tenting occurs during the final week. One person must be there during the day, and two at night.

If the tent quota is not met at the start, students can “dirty tent.” That means they set up their tent before the next type of tenting starts. They have a shorter time frame to tent and when they start determines their position in line.

White tenting spots usually fill up quickly. So to limit the number of people who white tent, there is a “race to the secret spot.” A clue is sent out, and the first groups to find the location on Duke’s campus and turn in their roster are allowed to tent. Everyone else is placed on a waiting tent.

How do monitors check to see who is there?

Whenever they choose, line monitors play a siren noise and everyone in the tent has to go to the meeting spot and show their student IDs. If you miss two checks in each section (black, blue and white), then you lose your spot in line.

After the check, students receive an hour of “grace” where another check will not be called, and they can leave K-ville.

Grace is also called during men’s basketball games so students can attend the games or watch on TV.

How do people decide the lineup order of the black tents?

Two things go into this: attendance events and trivia.

Attendance events are other sporting events such as men’s tennis and wrestling. Tents get points for up to 10 members who go for at least an hour. This encourages spirit and support for Duke sports other than men’s basketball.

On Feb. 13 we played “Allentine’s Day” trivia in honor of Grayson Allen, whose mom made Valentine goody bags for all of the people black tenting.

For trivia, teams work together to complete a quiz in an hour. Questions are all about Duke men’s basketball, from where players went to high school to former players who went on to the NBA. 

The questions are all short answer, and there is no official study guide to help. Many teams pass study guides down over the years; my group’s study guide was 30 pages long.

The scores from attendance events and trivia are combined to then decide the final order of the black tenting groups.

What are P-Checks?

The final checks the weekend before the basketball game conclude tenting for the year.

While the group is confirmed for the UNC-Duke game, P-Checks – or personal checks – ensure that every individual in the group is set. So instead of the tent checking in, individuals have to make three out of five checks over two nights.

The first night also has a concert every year in K-ville. 

So what does it take to be in the front row for this rivalry game?

Being woken up by sirens multiple times every night, a great group of friends to study trivia and a whole lot of love for Duke basketball.

Read more about K-ville here.

Alex Johnson
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