March 4, 2011

Cameron Indoor vs. The Dean Dome: A Somewhat Factual and Not-At-All Scientific Comparison.

It is time for more history to be made, folks.  It all comes down to Saturday night. Duke (#4) vs. UNC (#13) in Chapel Hill with the ACC regular season title on the line.  It is also my birthday, so it would be especially appreciated if the Blue Devils could pull off the victory lest they ruin my weekend.  Thanks in advance.  Earlier in the season, on February 9, 2011, Duke was victorious.  But that game was played in the friendly and cozy confines of Cameron Indoor, with their brilliantly obnoxious cast of supporters, the Cameron Crazies.  Take that security blanket away and replace it with a massive cave of booing baby blue assholes, and who knows what will happen? Thus, the x-factor in this game comes down to venue (amongst a few other things, which are explained below).  Will the Dean Dome provide the same home-court advantage for the Tar Heels that Cameron Indoor provides the great Blue Devils of Durham? It is a question that has plagued our country for generations.  

Here at CDTF, we commissioned an empirical study of both arenas, tabulated our research and data, and analyzed the results. We support giving back to the community.  This is the final lab report, as produced by our team of experts:
Lab Report/Field Study

Question: Which basketball venue provides better home-court advantage – The Dean Dome or Cameron Indoor?  

Hypothesis: Are you fucking kidding me? Cameron Indoor is the best venue in all of sports for home-court advantage, duh. 

Materials: My brain, paperclips, the tears of a mermaid, a modem, two messenger owls, one cup of finely chopped carrots, a typewriter, sexts from Coach K, a telescope.  

Methods/Procedure: Our research team spent years (or 30 minutes) sifting through original documents, primary source materials, published articles, and architectural plans (or the internet) to compile a comprehensive and mostly accurate (you should not believe anything that you read) comparison of Cameron Indoor Stadium and the Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center. Yes, that is what the Dean Dome is really called.  A renowned CDTF forensic scientist also completed a balanced field study over the course of several years; she visited the Dean Dome on three occasions and Cameron Indoor an estimated 92 times. 

Data: Our data was aggregated in two separate parts, as detailed below. 
I. The Dean Dome:

The Dean Dome opened in 1986, primarily to host the Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian” tour. It later became the home of the Tar Heels basketball team, when their old gym was set aflame in a random act of arson.  All fingers pointed to rogue protestors of the Voyager 2 space probe’s first encounter with Uranus, but it has not yet been proven; it is rumored, however, that those protestors formed a group known as the Tea Party decades later.  The first basketball game played there was between UNC, who was ranked #1, and Duke, who was ranked #3; Warren Smith scored the first basket ever recorded, while Kenny Smith dished the first assist.  Unfortunately, the game is still under protest and it cannot be confirmed who won. 

In an act of incredible foresight, the arena was named after the new Superman, stud muffin Dean Cain, even though his show did not premiere until 1993.  It is known as the most well-thought-out thing that the UNC administration has ever done. A small minority of historians argue that the building was named after a former coach, and that they had to beg that coach to use his name for fundraising purposes after he initially refused; however, no evidence could be found to support such a theory.  While the original Dean Dome sat 21,444 fans of the Bangles, seating adjustments were later made, bringing the total to 21,750 seats. The extra 306 seats were added in a floating skywalk above half-court, which is bolted to the ceiling by blue and white friendship bracelets.  Luckily, since the crowd never quite reaches a deafening level, the friendship bracelets rarely swing or shake ominously. 

This spread-out seating arrangement is one of the biggest flaws in the architectural design of the Dean Dome. Some of the seats have obstructed views, while others seem extraordinarily far from the floor.  Tar Heel students vehemently complain that their seats are poorly situated, but they are known to complain about everything, so their reports are not found credible.  In the basement vault of the Dean Dome, CDTF uncovered a Thundercats-themed diary, written by an unknown source but dated throughout 1987.  Apparently, it was purposely designed that the prime lower-level seating would be given to UNC’s secret cult, the Rams Club, a group of corrupt and affluent boosters.  The cult is comprised mostly of older season-ticket holders, thereby weakening an already weak and uncreative crowd.  In fact, the crowd is infamously lame.  It led one eye-witness, Florida State’s Sam Cassell, to comment that the Dean Dome “is not a Duke kind of crowd. It’s more like a cheese-and-wine crowd, kind of laid back.” 

Regardless of the seats or crowds, the Tar Heels are 293-56 at home. So, in spite of their apathetic fans, they have been pretty fucking successful.  Over the years, the Dean Dome has been spruced up with renovated locker rooms, high-resolution video screens, and a basketball museum. An ice-skating rink and petting zoo are currently in the works. It has also served as host for an eclectic array of sporting events and entertainers.  Kenny Rogers, the Grateful Dead, Bon Jovi, John Denver, Bruce Springsteen, Guns N Roses, and Elton John have all performed there. N’Sync’s reunion tour is rumored to kick off at the Dean Dome in the summer of 2019.

II.  Cameron Indoor:

Cameron Indoor Stadium began with a spark, not a bonfire. Quite literally, the plans for the building were originally conceived on the cover of a matchbook in 1935.  The matchbook has never been found, but it is rumored that the matches were used to light candles in churches all over Durham for the homeless and disabled; others say they were sent to aid the Allies in World War II. Years before, in 1924, Saint James Buchanan Duke contacted an architect from Philadelphia by the unfortunate name of Horace Trumbauer to design a “basketball house of worship.”  He also asked him to plan the entirety of Duke’s campus, but that was really an after-thought; the world-renowned university was to be built around its real chapel, Cameron Indoor Stadium. 

Documents have revealed that Horace and Saint James knocked back a bit too much sacramental wine while drawing up their original design.  It planned for 5,000 “basketball sittings,” a domed arena with 16-foot ceiling spans, and a 90 x 45-foot basketball court.  No one knows what a sitting is, but our experiments have confirmed that a regulation-sized court is 94 x 50 feet.  Horace later entered Alcoholics Anonymous where he designed the 20-ounce soda bottle, bringing him tremendous fame and a life-time supply of Mr. Pibb.  It took nine months, a lot of digging in a rock quarry, and $400,000, but Cameron Indoor opened its doors on January 6, 1940.  That date was specifically chosen by the kind gentlemen at Duke University to mourn the 1853 train wreck involving President-elect Franklin Pierce in Massachusetts, and of course, to honor Mother Teresa’s 1929 arrival in Calcutta when she began her path to becoming the symbol of good-will and virtue.  People from all over the world flocked to see the awe-inspiring athletic temple.

At the time it opened, Durham Chamber of Commerce President Marion B. Fowler said that Cameron Indoor was “so colossal and so wonderful . . . This building will not only be an asset to the university but to the entire community as well."  His lover, Chamber Secretary Frank Pierson sobbed that “There are no superlatives for it.” It had 8,800 seats, which included 3,500 bleacher seats on the floor, specifically allotted for the use of undergraduate students.  Undated film clips have documented that the bleachers have also been used for people without legs, midgets, and stray cats. There were also standing room areas that held about 3,000 additional people.  Decades later, in 1988, the standing room areas were removed, while hundreds of hammocks were added, bringing the total seating to 9,314. 

Ironically, the building was dedicated by UNC’s Dean R.B. House, who represented the Southern Conference.  Dressed like a ram, House was afraid that he would be engulfed with boos and pelted with tomatoes, so he stated: “I am a Methodist. I aspire to religion, I endorse erudition, and I use . . . tobacco . . . Hence, I claim to have good personal grounds for being a friend and well-wisher of Duke University."  He said that Cameron Indoor “will be on parade not only Duke University, but also . . . youth . . . education . . . and the values of a great and democratic people. Modern games preserve for us the athletic glory of Greece, the executive efficiency of Rome.”  He then had an orgasm.  That night, the Blue Devils beat the Princeton Tigers 36-27 in what would be the first of many victories in Cameron.  It was not until January 22, 1972, however, that the building officially became known as Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Before that, it was simply known as Duke Indoor Stadium, named after the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.  But in 1972, the building was dedicated to Duke’s longtime Athletic Director and basketball coach, Eddie Cameron.  And to celebrate the basketball house of worship, the Cameron Crazies propelled the unranked Blue Devils to a 76-74 upset of the #3 Tar Heels. 

While it was originally the largest indoor stadium in the South, it is now known for being beautifully renovated, microscopically small, and ear-piercingly loud.  Duke has won over 80% of its games in Cameron, and at one point, won 95 non-conference games in a row there – the school’s longest home winning streak – from February 2, 1983 to December 2, 1995.  It also holds the Guinness World Record for having the largest number of ugly cheerleaders in history with 723. The building has hosted championships, concerts, and cult gatherings of the Crazies, the church choir of Cameron Indoor.  In fact, just this past November, Pope Benedict led them in worship on a cold, stormy evening; the Jesus was inspired by the Cameron Crazies, so he whispered to Pope Benedict that he was now a fan of condoms.  The rest is history. 

Results/Analysis: Based upon the foregoing information, it has been statistically proven that Cameron Indoor Stadium provides a more advantageous home-court experience than the Dean Dome. Please note that there is no margin of error for this data, because it is correct. The Dean Dome is a massive cavern that sucks sound and hides undergraduates.  It is commercial, while Cameron is classic. Cameron is smaller, its students are practically standing on the court, and it is obnoxiously witty and loud. Its atmosphere cannot be replicated. UNC Administrators have even agreed and compared the games there to “the athletic glory of Greece.” So like everyone agrees. It started with a matchbook, spread through bonfires, but Duke has been on fire ever since. 

I mean, that’s science, folks. You don’t question it.  But still, I expect this game to be a lot tougher than February’s. I expect a tight, intense, anxiety-inducing showdown. UNC seems to have gotten its shit together.  Harrison Barnes, albeit a huge douchebag, is now starting to play like the pre-season All-American he was predicted to be.  Kendall Marshall is a clear improvement over The Quitter, Larry Drew The Second.  Ol’ Roy is all giddy and taking credit because his team is finally listening to him.  They have a lot of size with Zeller and Henson. I have to give them props – the Tar Heels have had an impressive second half of the season.  And it makes me nervous.  UNC has not beaten Duke since March 2009.  They want this. And they have home-court advantage, which has been especially significant in the ACC this season.  But as we have already empirically established, it means comparatively little for the Tar Heels.

Or so we can only hope. 

[Check back later for Batting Practice, Bitches!]

1 comment:

  1. Dylan, myself and the rest of our family snuck into Cameron Indoor in March of 2002 during a campus visit (my daughter was considering Duke but ultimately decided on Syracuse, dammit, we were intoxicated by the aura of the place, the tradition, the spirits. No other place we saw or visited came close to this unique feeling. Cameron Indoor is #1 no doubt, everyone else is behind them!