Thursday, 21 January 2010

Why American college sports teams have all the luck

When I stepped into the Cameron Indoor Stadium (an odd name I thought but then it states its purpose) last week, it was the peak of my four days in North Carolina.

I was actually there to attend a conference on science and the web but two sidetrips to Durham and Chapel Hill being available, I wasn't going to pass up the chance to see the Cameron court at Duke University or the University of North Carolina football stadium (outdoor, in case you were wondering).
Look at the shine on the court, the electronic scoreboard, the TV camera-friendly lighting, 9300-seat capacity and potential for player sponsorshiop deals and then ask why getting a spot on a US sports team  is an internationally-respected achievement. While I wasn't able to catch a game due to tickets being sold out well before I planned the trip (except for the $5000 courtside package), just being in the stadium was enough inspiration for me.

Duke have 15 wins, 3 losses for the season after the 88-74 loss to NC State on Wednesday. Their 6'8" forward Kyle Singler's No 12 jersey can be seen on anyone from freshman to college professor to shopkeepers around parochial Durham (and London UK, now that I splashed out to buy the cheaper $60 away strip).

Glancing down the All-American wall of fame at Duke (small section pictured left) was like a trip back to my first days playing ball in high school, seeing names like Christian Laettner, Jason Williams and Grant Hill slotted in amongst players who may have been just as well known in their respective sports. Whether Singler follows these college legends to the NBA is another question but with the positive reception that greets his consistently high shooting stats, he will no doubt have had all the fame he can handle before he even turns 22 in May.