Home > Uncategorized > Going to Duke. Part 2

Going to Duke. Part 2

This is part 2 of my account of a recent trip I took to Duke university, told in the present, with flashbacks through the 7 years it took to get to that day.

 Part 1

We approach Duke Chapel. The door is open. Does the chapel know im a tarheel? Will a priest greet me and throw me into a dungeon? I take my chances. No services going on so we have full access into the chapel. Its impressive. Very impressive actually. Organ pipes framed by ornate wood carvings, intricately painted stain glass windows, and downright impressive stone architecture. As I took a picture the organ pipes came to life. “oh no, im busted. Are the going to take me away? I knew they’d find out.”

Spring 2004. I’m approaching graduation and still involved in that late night bible study over at what is now officially The Summit Church.  I also lead a guys bible study for freshmen and sophomores at UNC. Those 4 to 5 Duke guys have grown to 7 or 8 along with 7 or 8 UNC guys. We no longer sit segregated by shades of blue, and for the record a full scale brawl did not take place on that first morning we met together. I actually do call these guys…friends…brothers even. I…its hard to believe still…pray with these guys. We pray for our campuses together.

Back outside I call one of my old bible study friends…we work together now…both on staff at the Summit Church. Jonathan of course knows Duke’s campus. So I call him to find out how to get to…Cameron Indoor Stadium. Maybe the epicenter of Duke lore, and definitely what I have long held at the very core of my despise of Duke university. With the help of Jonathan, and a random student…a friendly student (its happening again!), we make it to Cameron. We assume we will only be able to see it & take some pictures. As we start taking pictures another random student offers to take pics for us. What is up with the friendliness? To our surprise, the door to cameron is open…

Still Spring 2004. Senior Night at the Dean Dome. I pulled hard for UNC and hard against Duke. Just want to clear up that I never wavered for a moment in where my fanship stands. The alma mater comes up after the game. Caught up in the moment my comrades and I start singing the version my aunt (UNC alum) taught me from her days… If you know the first part of UNC’s alma, this replaces the words from “hark the sound” to “NCU.”  “On the banks of durham’s ditches…where the tarheels puke…live 10,000 sons of _____ by the name of Duke.” As I sing I think suddenly, well maybe only like 9,950 because I know some cool people there. An epiphany: My despise of duke as a whole must, logically (I cant logically despise my friends), be redirected to just the sports teams. but wait, one of those guys in my bible study plays for duke’s soccer team. hmmm, ok, JUST Duke Basketball (football there is too sad to hate). Oh, and my younger brother is at this point a freshman at NC State. WHY GOD!?!

We walk in, trying to look like we are supposed to be there. The inside is pretty dissapointing. Small lobby with thick stripes on the carpet leading toward double doors on each side of the room. To the right, a huge name plate list of every duke all american. I thought my reaction would be vomit, but I found myself looking at it in appreciation of the history on it. talented players, whom I long despised, have come through here. Anyways, since there is little in this room, we check the next set of doors. they are open too. We walk…onto the floor of cameron indoor stadium! OOPS! Mid-practice too! Apparently we had entered the building through the student entrance. We got a few looks then completely blew our cover as we gawked up into the rafters. We turned and walked right back out, but were not deterred…

January 2007. I’ve been asked to work part-time for a second year at the Summit helping them establish a small groups ministry. Im rolling through seminary where my immersion in theological study has put everything else on the back burner. My despise of duke’s basketball team has encountered serious problems. Over the past 3 years, one former Duke player of the year has become a christian at the Summit, and another POY and at least one of the coaches have visited on multiple occasions. I console my tarheel spirit with phrases like “of course duke needs Jesus Spence. Their mascot is a devil. when they find Jesus, they will all repent and turn to the light shade of blue.” Of course I knew guys who were both Christians and Dukies. And if I was honest with the rest of myself, I was truly more excited that the Summit was reaching Duke and UNC with the gospel than I was about any basketball game. Was I starting to…(gulp) grow up? impossible. But something had clearly changed.

upstairs after walking around the hallways, I happen upon a glass door that reads “duke hall of fame” which once again…is open…

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  1. March 2, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I had a similar experience recently too. My in-laws have an appreciation for ornate chapels and botanical gardens. It was a better time for me to be there because the basketball team was in the midst of their losing skid. I would have a harder time going there now. Go Heels!

  1. March 6, 2009 at 9:19 am

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