Ten years ago on New Year’s Eve, I stood in a hotel room in the Mirage preparing for a night of Las Vegas revelry, a process that consisted for me at age 23 of putting on a flamboyant cream and gold Jordan Brand button-down and drinking Tanqueray out of a water glass. My friends and I had a hip-hop station on the clock radio, and right before we departed for the Strip, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” came on. That was incredibly meaningful for me at that moment, because I felt I was on the verge of something I hadn’t quite figured out yet.
Make no mistake, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m used to being in weird environments. Last year, I helped set the Guinness Record for participating in the largest gathering of zombies. But from a sports perspective, sitting at the Hoophall Classic last week, I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help but think the whole thing was pretty perverse.
Right before Christmas, I flew down to North Carolina to visit Duke, something IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d previously done five times since I graduated in 2001. Though a lot remains unchanged in my life since my last trip three years ago Ã¢â‚¬â€œ same job, same apartment, same obsessive sneaker collection Ã¢â‚¬â€œ IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve since met my future wife, which qualifies as a very significant positive change.
When we stopped for a snack at the general store adjacent to my freshman year dorm, a couple of wide-eyed freshmen, still shell-shocked from their first final exams, asked me what had changed about Duke in the thousand years since IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d been a student, and it got me to thinking.