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How Duke Hoops Affected My Life, By Readers

Mark's Excellent Adventure!

Duke's G-Men -- Groat, Gminski and
My form at the stripe is sort of a cross
between Chris Burgess and Shaq
Duke's G-Men -- Groat, Gminski and
My patented
under-the-leg-left-handed-lay-up... Of course I don't think I've ever
gotten one of those to drop.
Sure I'm tired, but it's a GOOD kind of
Lanier and Me and our honorary groomsmen, the
1989-1990 Duke Men's Basketball Team: 31 more points, and they would have
been National Champions!

Recently we asked for people's stories on how Duke Basketball had
affected their lives. These are the best ones we've gotten so far, and Mark
Goodell, whose story is below, was nice enough to include a bunch of cool
pictures. Thanks Mark! There are several others below his, so make sure to
read all the way down. Some are great.

Duke Basketball has supplied a string of
significant memories in my life for nearly twenty years -- since my brother
Terry matriculated at Duke in the fall of '81. Most of them are happy
(screaming louder than I've ever screamed before or since when Johnny Dawkins
blocked David Rivers' shot to win the Notre Dame game in '86, and not being able
to hear myself; attending all three Carolina Triple Crown games as a
Senior in '88), some are painful (pumping my fist into an operating ceiling fan
when Duke beat UNLV in '91), but all are enduring: I watch the UNLV game
at the beginning of each season (as well as the last few minutes of Kansas /
UNC :-) ), and my hand still throbs a little at the end.
However, as I look back over the landscape of my Duke memories, one day soars
above the others and disappears into the clouds: My wedding day, September
10, 1989.

Since Lanier and I were to be married in the Duke
Chapel, my best man Spencer Gray (E '87) persuaded facilities director Tom
D'Armi to let us into Cameron Indoor Stadium to play basketball that
morning. I walked onto the floor in the darkened stadium with a
basketball under my arm, and the lights crackled to life just as I reached
center court -- What a beautiful moment.
We shot around for a few minutes.....then played full court three-on-three until we
were sucking wind like a class 5 twister:
After a good blow, the others played the role of
the Cameron Crazies during a free throw attempt, so I could know the terror that
strikes the heart of opposing players when they go to the line.
Now, I've admittedly lost a few steps since I was
23, but in those days I had an explosive 20-inch vertical leap, so -- being
nearly 6'3" -- I knew that I needed just a little bit of help to live out a
fantasy: So Spence -- truly the BEST man -- got down on his hands and
knees, so I could jump off his back and dunk in Cameron. I got a running
start, jumped on Spencer's back, and eyed the basket... then Spence collapsed, I
went one way, and the ball went another. When we regrouped, Spence put his
arm around me and said "Next time, put your foot higher up on my back: It
will give you more stability, you'll have just a little more height ...
and you won't step on my kidneys." What he said made sense to me, so I
took it to heart on the next attempt. A running start... off
Spence's back... and...
The cut and bruise left by the rim on my wrist were
a badge of honor as I stood at the altar later that day... Of course
Lanier was worried that I'd had second thoughts about the wedding. All in
all, a wonderful Duke Basketball memory -- But it doesn't end
After the wedding, with the strains of the Wedding
March as played on the Duke Flentrop Organ still ringing in our ears, we were
having some pictures taken outside the chapel. Suddenly Spence, really
taking this best man thing to new levels, burst through the door, and said
"You're not going to believe who's on the other side of the chapel...". As
the Lord would have it, the basketball team was having their team portrait taken
on that day, at that moment, at the spot where I had just been married. I
bundled up Lanier's train, and coaxed her into a fast walk / half jog around the
chapel. As we rounded the corner, a concerned look came over Coach K's
face, but then he quickly agreed to let us snap a picture. As the
photographer positioned us, we joked with Alaa about sending him a copy for his
wallet, and just enjoyed the moment.
Ten years have passed, and the scar on my wrist has
long since healed... But the grass stain on Lanier's dress remains as a
permanent reminder of my Duke story...
Mark Goodell, E '88


David C. Rakes

I didn't meet my wife because of Duke basketball, but it had made for
some interesting times. My wife is as big a Terp fan as I am a Dukie.
Living near College Park, we had season tickets to the Maryland games.
My wife and her Dad would sit in one row with my Son and myself directly
in front of them. My wife would have made a good "crazy", but was
sentenced to be the only fan cheering in the Maryland Alumni section.

Most of the time everything worked out fine. I had no problem pulling
for the Terps (with ex-Duke grad Lefty) in every game except Duke. When
Duke came to town though, I had to walk a fine line. Whenever anything
good happened for Duke, regardless of my admirable restraint, I wound up
with bruises about my head and shoulders.

One year we were at the ACC Tournament and had the misfortune of having
Duke and Maryland meet in the 7:00 game on Friday. All day leading up
to the game, fans around us in the Maryland section eyed me suspiciously
and asked what my wife was going to do with me come game time. We
decided we would both enjoy the game more if we didn't have to worry
about angering each other with our support of our respective teams. I
wandered over to the Duke section had quite an enjoyable time "blending
in" with the Duke students who were, of course, standing throughout the
game. I merely stood next to them and joined in. Everything was fine
until at one point an usher tried to herd the students back out of the
stairway. As I tried to look inconspicuous, the usher spotted me and
sternly asked where my seat was. I smiled sheepishly and pointed to the
Maryland section. I'm sure I saw a smile as she turned away, leaving me
to enjoy the remainder of the game in friendly territory. Afterward I
waited until the next game began before returning to my seat to allow
the Maryland fans to calm down after another Duke win!


Adam Deacon

Duke Basketball has been a key factor in keeping my family close over
the years. My mother was born and raised in Greensboro. She went to
Page high school and is still a big Carolina fan. She went to college
in Virginia where she met my father - a Canadian from Toronto - and they
married after a year of dating and moved to Canada where my brother and
I were born and raised.

My wonderful southern Grandmother has sent us many gifts over the years,
but a great majority of them have been ACC basketball related. Although
she too is a big Carolina fan, she had a problem in that she didn't want
to send identical shirts and hats to her two grandsons in every
package. This dilemma forced her to create a Duke fan - me.

Every package that came had a Duke item and a Carolina item for the next
twenty years. I'm 25 now, and I have to say that although hockey is a
huge point of interest in my life (go Leafs!), I'm probably one of a
select few Canadians whose most followed sports team is a US college
hoops team.

Duke basketball has been a wonderful relationship tool for our family
for two decades. My Grandfather and I talk basketball by phone and
email whenever we get the chance. My Grandmother still shows her love
all the time in the magazines, press clippings, posters, and T-shirts
she sends on a near weekly basis. I have had the chance to see Duke
play in Cameron once (Lehigh, 1991), and in the tournament a number of
times, including the 1992 championship year that began in Greensboro. I
also had the opportunity to attend Coach K's summer camp three times in
high school, and I hope the camp is still running 15 years from now when
my kids will be eligible to go.

I'm sure that without ACC basketball our family would have found another
tool with which to stay close, but I'm quite pleased my Grandmother sent
the T-shirts and the hats that she did. It was close - she almost went
with Wake because of our last name. I like the young squad Duke has
this year, and although last year was a heartbreak, I truly think that
the experience of losing that game could push them very far in this
year's tourney. Who knows, if the freshmen keep maturing like they look
to be doing, watch out!

Keep up the good work... and Merry Christmas!


Hey guys!
This is my first time writing to you so let me take the opportunity to thank you for all that you do. I have been reading DBR every day since last basketball season, when my friend Ali (the Danish-Brit whose letter you posted about a month ago) discovered your site.
Last year when I was a freshman and camping out for the Michigan game I kissed, for the first time, my soon to be, girlfriend of over one year! Though I have struggled here at Duke from time to time -- being away from my family and friends in my native New York -- and have seriously considered transfering, my girlfriend Meredith was always there for me. Although this semester started out difficult once again, I have since found my niche at Duke and am very happy. When I graduate from DUKE in 2002, I will have her to thank. And this Christmas break, she will be coming up to NY to spend New Years with me, my family and friends. And while we are ringing in the new millenium together, you can bet we will be watching Duke Basketball!


Craig P.


Hi guys:

I proposed to my wife down on the floor at halftime of the Duke - Notre
Dame game in February 1992. Because it was her first visit to Cameron,
she was a little intimidated by the student section screaming at her
while I stopped and made a spectacle of us.

Needless to say, although she wanted to run out and call her friends to
announce the big news, I dragged her back up and made her watch the
second half.

An interesting postscript was that we had a big engagement party which
turned out to be on the night that Laettner made the shot to beat

Keep up the great work guys.

Marty W


Christmas in Krzyzewskiville

This story comes from the first big camp out of the '92-'93 season. Number 1 ranked Michigan was coming to town for an early season match-up in Cameron with our defending national champions. My friend Jen and I drew watch on a particularly cold night and decided to hop in a sleeping bag to try to conserve the rest of our dwindling warmth. Christmas was fast approaching and we mused over our holiday plans and our respective family's traditions.

I started telling Jen about my dad's penchant for bad Christmas music, including his prized "Blue Christmas" album by Elvis Presley. The title track is a stirring rendition of Blue Christmas with Elvis in all his bass tone glory.

Well, I don't know if I started to channel Elvis or what, but something came over me. Call it Christmas cheer, hypothermia, whatever; but I just started belting out Blue Christmas without any regard for Jen or my neighoring campers. It was not the garden variety version, this was a full blown, Vegas-style impersonation that you would expect from a guy in a white polyester jumpsuit and mutton chops.

Needless to say, this whole rendition made Jen hysterical, and when I came to my sense, I shared in her mirth. It was a truly funny moment and it is hard to describe how funny it was without attaching a .wav to this message. It is definitely one of the moments I will always remember from college and it spawned from one of the things that make Duke basketball what it is: Krzyzewskiville!!!!

Happy Holidays to all of you in the DBR family!!!!!!!

Brian Kowal '94


Duke Basketball plays a role in the stories of the births of our two
daughters, Katie and Cami.

My 17 month old daughter Camryn is named for the stadium. (My wife
insisted that we use that spelling since in NJ "Cameron" is more often
used as a boys name, and the -ryn ending is similar to her sister's..)

She rejected the following middle names:

"Wade" (I was serious about this one)



The last two make for good conversation as people ponder whether I was
serious or not. (We chose Elizabeth.)

There's a Duke basketball connection to the birth of our first child
-due in the middle of the 1994 NCAA tournament.

The delivery of our first daughter (Kathryn, named for her
great-grandmother) was due on the day after the 1994 Southeast Regional
semi-final. I flew to Knoxville on the day of the game, saw the game,
then caught a ride with a friend who lived in Bristol, TN (almost 2
hours away) after playing the late game that night and flew back (via a
connection) to return to NJ the next morning. Gone less than 24 hours,
but one last game before fatherhood, and my string of NCAA regional and
final four attendance, dating back to 1984 in (god-foresaken) Pullman,
Washington was intact. (Duke lost to Washington after a first round bye
in the last 48 team tourney.)

Of course, I only went after the doctor said he didn't think the birth
would happen in the next 24 hours, and with the consent of my wife,
Susan. She later told me it was the longest 20 hours of her life, as
she thought every kick was the onset of labor.

As birth had not yet occured the weekend of the final four, I watched on

Neil Sullivan