Two of the happiest moments of my life: May 2007, when I found out I was coming to the great state of North Carolina, and June 2012, when I found out I was coming back.
In between, I did a fair amount of what I’m about to do now: cover Duke sports.
My sophomore year, I was in the upper bowl of The Joel behind the backboard when No. 4 Wake Forest sank a last-second lay-up off of an inbounds pass to beat No. 1 Duke 70-68 and send the tie dye-clad students spilling onto the floor (and it has been all downhill for the Demon Deacons since then). My junior year, I had to pack up my laptop and leave my baseline seat at what was then the RBC Center early to avoid the students rushing the court after the Wolfpack inexplicably defeated Duke 88-74. And, in what I thought was my last year in Durham, I traveled down 15-501 for one of the Chronicle’s most coveted assignments, Duke at UNC, and watched from the last row in the lower bowl as the Tar Heels impressively rolled to an 81-67 victory, driving their students from their seats as well (notice a trend?).
I swear, though, I’ve seen Duke win. I was in the press box for David Cutcliffe’s first game, a 31-7 win over James Madison that gave the Blue Devils their first home victory since 2005. And the first weekend of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, with Kyrie Irving’s return and Duke’s 73-71 win over Michigan following Jalen Rose’s “Uncle Tom” remarks, was when I realized, once and for all, that I was going to have to be a sports reporter. It was too good of gig to give up for anything else.
Like a few Duke students, I took a gap year after I graduated in May 2011 (though it wasn’t planned like that) and went to Florida to work for the Tampa Bay Times. I had a blast covering high schools, fantastically talented kids like football players headed to both USCs and a baseball player who received $2.5 million to forgo college and sign with the Houston Astros. And I carved out another role that I particularly enjoyed: Florida-based North Carolina basketball reporter, as I made the drive up to Tallahassee to cover both UNC (a historic loss for the Tar Heels) and Duke (a solid win for the Blue Devils).
When the opportunity to become a professional, North Carolina-based Duke reporter came up this summer, it was, in many ways, a dream come true. And here I am.
The goal is to make this blog a go-to source for news and information on Duke, the kind of site you check morning, noon and night. And it’s probably worth putting in writing that said news and information will be of the objective, straight-shooting variety—none of this fan stuff. They taught me better than that at Duke.
In the meantime, don’t ever hesitate to get in touch with me. I’m not quite sure how we all survived so long without Twitter, as I’m constantly checking and updating mine (@laurakeeley if you want to join in the fun). Email works, too (firstname.lastname@example.org). And, whether you love Duke or hate Duke, think I’m a genius or an idiot, leave a comment on the blog—it would be cool to get a nice conversation going.