The other night I went to the Duke vs. Clemson football game where the Tigers beat the Blue Devils 52-20.

For the first time in a very very long time Duke has a mediocre football team. We are actually going to a bowl this year. There is even a chance that we could go to the ACC title game. You could really feel the excitement in the stands. The stadium was mostly full and Duke fans seemed to outnumber Clemson fans, which is not always this case with this matchup.

Having attended Florida State for my undergrad I found going to this game to be a very different college football experience than I was used to. Here are a few anecdotal stories to illustrate my point…

I walked to the stadium with another Duke seminary student. We started following a large crowd of Clemson fans because, well, I had never been to the football stadium and I wasn’t sure how to get there. After following them for a while, they turned around and said to us, “Hey! You guys go here! How do you get to the football stadium?” I kind of laughed and said, “I honestly have no idea. I was following you. I can get you to the basketball stadium…”

The stands had the kinds of fans only Duke could have. I saw one guy sitting alone reading a book. I saw another guy wearing a Cornell T-shirt. The fans had no idea when to cheer. The Clemson fans would cheer loudly when we were on offense to distract us. Rather than understanding that we needed to be quiet so that our QB could communicate with the team, the Duke fans felt the need to respond to the Clemson cheers. So, we were the loudest when we were on offense…

And the football team was (bless their hearts) not great. They only had two quarters in them.

Highlights of the game:

  1. Getting in free because there is such a low demand for football tickets
  2. Hearing an incredible cheer: “Start up your tractors. Go home, Clemson.”
  3. Deciding that the next time I go to a game I would make a sign that says, “Oh yeah, well we won a Nobel Prize.”
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