Thursday, February 14, 2008

My trip to Cameron last night

Photo wasn't from last night, I forgot the camera...

It has been a couple of years since I had been to Cameron Indoor for a Duke game. Was kind of counting on the rain, and possibility of snow to keep out the crush of people looking for tickets that I've seen the last few times I had been. I think that must have helped. We got to the building at about 6:45 and moved away to a high traffic spot where a lot of the Iron Dukes are walking in. We had several scalper approaches, including a few that were quite bizarre. This one college age kid says "I've got two, my mom is coming with them right now.". So we are thinking, wow, this is easy, we just got here and going to walk into some great cheap seats. Mom shows up and she looks a little rougher than your typical Duke mom, but not bad. I hear her say to him "I could only get 3". That was my first clue. Sure enough, he's looking to get $100 or more per seat. Not sure she was his mom, but for sure, they were scalpers.

Few minutes later, a really old guy with a limp walks by holding up 2. He looks like the type we've repeatedly found great face value seats, or even free seats. The old money type that would rather give them away than sell to a scalper. Only, again, I'm wrong. He wants $150 per seat. So I'm starting to think, wow, the economy must be really bad, turning out old men and mother/son pairs to scalp.

Our first real clue that this might actually be an easy ticket is one of the staples in the scalper scene, black dude around 45 who I've seen at almost every big Duke or Carolina game I've been to in the last 10 years come up holding up two tickets. I've never seen the guy giving deals or trying to be nice, he's just a businessman. He's got two endzone seats for face value ($35 for endzone, as much as $60 for midcourt). Too easy, so we pass counting on getting a better seat. Then we stand around for 10 minutes with nothing, and I'm second guessing that we didn't take those. Finally, a broker (not a typical looking scalper, but guy you can tell doesn't sell on the street a lot, but has clients who he buys for) comes by with two. He says client didn't show, and sells us sideline seats, Row A for face. Here is where I did something dumb. I was a bit cold, he was talking fast, there wasn't much light, and my eyes aren't what they used to be. I could swear that when I looked down at the ticket it said $60. So I gave him $120 for two and we head in. Only when we get inside in the light do we see it was a $50 ticket. So, overpaid a bit.

Anyway, seats were right on the rail, just above students, a little beyond the baseline. Great to be that close, but not have to be in the middle of students (which is a miserable experience).

You can find the normal game details other places, but some random observations:

  • Duke chants are always fun. Popular early was "Sweat Gary, Sweat". After one series where Gist tried twice to dunk and missed in a crowd, kept getting his own rebound and kept going back up, he got "You can't dunk" the rest of the night.
  • Duke is fast. Their perimeter defense may be their best ever. With many of the lineups they use, any defender can guard any offensive player, so they can switch every screen and not miss a beat.
  • Duke fans HATE Vasquez. I love the guy. He's got attitude but has fun with it. At one point coming out of a timeout, he start getting cocky with the crowd. Ref actually said something to him to calm it down, then walked over to explain the same to Gary.
  • Paulus has a really quick release and is shooting the ball so well right now.
  • Kyle Singler is bigger, stronger, faster that I could have imagined. I think he's bionic.
  • Coming out of maybe the under 4 timeout, the crowd was getting a little lazy. Coach K made some special efforts and gestures to get them cranked up, and it worked.
  • Once the game was out of reach at the end, the students start the "Not Our Rival" chant. I'm not so sure about that though. Of course it isn't a rivalry like UNC, but still, even with the loss last night, Maryland has won 2 of the last 4 in Cameron.


Anonymous said...

TV did a good job of showing John Cahill talking to Vasquez... also showed K getting the crowd fired up.

Those guys are just unbelievable. Could K be redefining the way the college game is played? It will be interesting to see how next year's 3 point line changes things.