The crowd was slowly building, the noise rapidly rising, the excitement setting in.
Everywhere I turned, I saw people cheering, children yelling, and fans screaming.
The atmosphere was amazing, unlike any other I had ever experienced, something about the place made me feel as if I was home.
On Dec. 8, 2007, I got to live out a dream that millions of sports fans may never experience: Watch a Duke basketball game in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The History Behind Cameron
The original plans for the stadium were drawn up around 1935 by a basketball coach named Eddie Cameron.
These plans were further developed and drawn up by the architect of the project, Horace Trumbauer, around 1939. It was on Jan. 6, 1940, however, when Cameron Indoor Stadium first opened its doors to the public.
The original name of the stadium was Duke Indoor Stadium, and at the time cost around $400,000 to construct. It originally seated 8,800 people, and at it's completion was the largest gymnasium in the country south of the Palestra at the University of Pennsylvania.
The first game in the newly constructed Duke Indoor Stadium featured Duke University vs. Princeton. The outcome of that game was a 56-27 victory in favor of the Blue Devils, a win that ignited a string of victories for a program ready to prosper.
The architects and designers of the stadium really never understood what may lie ahead for the Duke Basketball Program. "Would the program exceed the number of years the stadium stood?" or "Would the entire college basketball landscape watch the newly constructed gymnasium falter under the expectations?"
Luckily for all Duke fans, the program was a success.
The Cameron Legacy
Christian Laettner, Johnny Dawkins, Bobby Hurley, Art Heyman, Trajan Langdon, Mike Gminski, Tommy Amaker, Elton Brand, Chris Duhon, Shane Battier, Grant Hill, and J.J. Redick are just a few of the basketball greats to have once called Cameron home.
In 2001, the floor in Cameron Indoor Stadium was named the "Coach K Court," in recognition of Coach Mike Krzyzewski's success with the Duke program.
The students even got involved and created "Krzyzewskiville," which sees thousands of students each year pitch tents in the area next to Cameron in order to receive tickets to the big basketball games.
Even the "Cameron Crazies" have continued to show up to every game, showing their support for one of the greatest college basketball programs in history.
None of the above would have been possible had Cameron Indoor Stadium faltered. Many colleges today believe that the newer the buildings and gymnasiums on campus, the better. Well in Durham, N.C., history has reigned supreme and will continue to do so in the future.
The history and atmosphere of Cameron has separated it from all other gymnasiums in college basketball. The small arena makes for loud noise, fans closer to the action, and therefore one of the toughest environments to play in all of basketball.
Every person who steps into Cameron Indoor Stadium can feel the energy that is released from one of the most prominent landmarks in America.
When I first entered the stadium on that December afternoon, I know that I felt the excitement rush up my spine, the intensity of the game in front of my eyes.
I got to witness the greatness that is Cameron Indoor Stadium!
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