When I think back to my first year at Duke, there is one experience that stands out as the defining factor of my freshman experience: the Duke-UNC game in Cameron Indoor Stadium. This moment shall forever hold a spot in the top ten best moments of my life. While I have compiled a wealth of beautiful moments during my time in college, it wasn’t until three days ago that I inhabited a moment that truly rivaled this Cameron Crazy: the Eiffel Tower twinkling at midnight. Odd comparison you might say, but humor me on this one!
Over a month spent in a tent amidst the cold January weather. Countless mornings of waking up with frozen toes and fingers, grabbing my things and trudging back to East with one thought in mind—how my spot in tent number 11 would get me to the front row of the student section.
Years of seeing that timeless symbol in the background of movies and the forefront of posters. Upon my arrival in Paris, I could not have been more excited for my first moment of beholding the sight of the structure with my own eyes.
THE BEFOREHAND PICTURE-TAKING FRENZY:
Yes, we understand it’s January, but that doesn’t stop us from stripping down to a sports bra and running shorts to paint our bodies blue and take a thousand pictures during the countdown to the doors of the stadium opening.
In what was perhaps a bit less than a sober state, we spent the 30-minute wait for the 12:00 twinkling to start by running around taking ridiculous goofy pictures. Not a single frame captures me in a state where I am not making a strange face (no normal pictures to send home to mom…)
THE MOMENT ITSELF:
The clock begins and the tip-off starts the game in a whiz of excitement. One thousand hands in the student section become a single storm of twinkling spirit fingers every time UNC throws the ball in from the sideline. The electricity of the crowd is enough to keep your adrenaline going for hours. In this moment I was carrying on the legacy of the Cameron Crazies and I was filled with love and pride for Duke.
The clock strikes 12:00 and suddenly the lighted tower begins to twinkle with what looks like a million fireflies making a mad dash within the structure. I looked up and could not think of a better place to be at that moment in time.
THE AFTER… “PARTY?”
My freshman year, we came back from a 16 point deficit at half time to win the game. The buzzer went off and I heard a shout from behind me: “LET’S BURN SHIT!!!” We all rushed out unto the quad and attempted to fully soak in the incredible event we had just witnessed with a giant celebratory bonfire.
After the five full minutes of sparkling, I can’t get up! I’m trying to hold onto the last moments of the magical moment and internalize how it feels to be 20 years, old lying under the Eiffel Tower and hoping that I can continue to fill my life with memories as beautiful as this!