Hello from the Other Side (of the Line)

demystifying the Duke Line Monitors

True Blue | Catherine York | February 13, 2016

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Introducing the one, the only ~Duke Line Monitor.~

If you’ve been to a basketball game, you already know them. You’ve probably seen them toting around megaphones or overheard them discussing the last Duke basketball game, the next Duke basketball game, or how they can’t decide if they’re going to name their firstborn Grayson or Krzyzewski (I vote for the second – you know that kid is gonna turn out great). You’ve probably already formed an opinion, maybe even a strong one, on this group of spirited twenty-somethings that somehow make painting their near-nude bodies not only socially acceptable but trendy.

And if you haven’t been to a basketball game, you need to GTFO of this school. *Note that I actually have no authority to kick you out of Duke based on our sports game attendance. I realize that’s a common misconception. But I would if I could.

After talking to three current line monitors (almost at the risk of having to pay for all of their Chipotle – including the extra $1.25 for guac), I’m going to try to separate the fact from fiction on the real role of the Duke University Line Monitors.  
A quick overview of the lucky participants:

Will Bobrinskoy, co-head line monitor: senior, easily spotted by his Duke blue suit

Sara Constand: sophomore, easily spotted by her thrift store basketball sweater vest

James Pierpoint: sophomore, easily spotted by his Grayson Allen jersey and blue and white wig-attached visor

And now for the real truth behind those blue windbreakers…

Myth: All line monitors had flawless tenting experiences.

One may assume that to want to become a permanent resident of K-Ville, you’d have to have had a pretty great experience tenting. Not the case – even for the biggest basketball aficionados, it’s not always sunny in K-Ville.
High: “I watched the sun rise over Cameron and ate three chicken biscuits from McDonald’s and that was my best memory.” – James (Duke’s version of a Notebook scene)

Low: “The least favorite is just the last night of black tenting last year when it was pouring rain. They called four checks in the pouring rain. (“oops” – Will) I thought I was going to kill someone. – Sara (“She wanted to kill me, not just someone” – James)”

High: “Winning.” – Will

Fact: Line monitors sweat just as much as us peasants (re: average students).

You may think as you stand completely perpendicular to the court with some stranger’s ass in your crotch and ponytail in your mouth, that there is no way that anyone else in the entire stadium can be as cramped/hot/uncomfortable/sweaty as you.

Well, you’re not that special.

Will wears a blue suit that was passed down to him from a previous line monitor. According to James, “You stand to next to Will and you’re asking for your entire left arm to be moist.”

Will, how much do you sweat at games?

“A lot.”

Sometimes, it quite literally comes down to mixing blood, sweat, and tears (hopefully of joy) in Cameron.

Myth: If you ask enough times (or exchange food, test answers, and/or sexual favors), you can eventually find out when the tent checks will be.

Don’t act like you haven’t tried. I know some of you only decided to tent this year because your best friend is a line monitor and you thought you were going to get those added ~benefits~.

Or maybe you don’t even know any of them but you’re just one of those bold (re: obnoxious, annoying, creepy) tenters that Facebook messages people you’ve never met because they to happen to be wearing a line monitor jacket in their profile picture.

Don’t act like you haven’t thought about that.

The answer you’re most likely to get is: I don’t know. Because, believe it or not, most of them don’t actually know.

“The thing is there are only a certain number of people that are ‘on’ each day and only those people are involved in picking the time for the checks. If I’m not ‘on,’ I genuinely don’t know when the check is.” – James

“We make sure it’s as random as possible. We kind of just decide about 10 minutes beforehand so that we can’t be predictable and so that others can’t find out when they’ll be.” – Will

Fact: Grayson Allen really is bae.

When asked which current player they would choose to be, all three replied “Grayson” without a second’s hesitation. Will summed up their reasoning best:

“Because he’s a badass. And he seems like a chiller.”

Myth: Line monitors are heartless assholes running on a high and power trip from using the blow horn.

“I didn’t like when I had to give someone a miss. It’s just uncomfortable. You hate to give them that.” – Sara

“The bull horn actually is terrible because when you do it, it brings back the memories of when you were on the opposite side. When you hear it, you’re like ‘oh no no, I don’t want that.’” – James

“A lot of people don’t realize the purpose of a tent check is to reward the people that are in K-Ville, not to annoy them and get them out of their tents.” – Will

Fact: Coach K has a dirty mouth and he’s not afraid to use it.

‘Nuff said.

Myth: Line monitors blow up every Groupme and Facebook page just for shits and gigs.

Odds are you are somehow connected to a line monitor via a form of social media. You won’t realize it until it’s a few hours before a game and they post something very aggressive and in all caps to the groupme you made for your Spanish project last semester.

Turns out there’s a reason for that.

“If a lot of students don’t show up to the games that determines how much space is in Cameron for future games. I wish people realized more why line monitors are being so pushy – like ‘please come, please come’ –  because if people don’t show up then those spots will be taken from the students and sold.” – Sara (Wow. Money really does make the world go round.)

Fact: The fans are the sixth man.

How important are the fans really? Pretty important apparently. Cameron Indoor is ranked the hardest stadium to play in for away teams in the country. I don’t think that’s because the court is slippery (those managers ardently make sure of that). It’s because you’ve got a bunch of sweaty, obnoxious kids yelling profane and rude things at you while also knowing that they were all in the top 10% in their high school (I’m aware that it’s comments like these that make everyone hate us).

“Foul shots, referee’s calls. We’re in people’s faces.” – James

“We make a huge difference.” – Will

Lastly, a few comments were made in a student publication (I think we all know who/what I’m talking about ) expressing disappointment in the student section’s and basketball team’s performances this season.

Well, get over yourself. According to my dad, Theodore Roosevelt used to say something about if you’re not in the arena (ie Cameron Indoor court or student section), then you can’t complain about what happens there. So basically, start talking when you can make more threes than Grayson Allen.  .

*This is strictly my opinion only – the line monitors are a little too PC for comments like that.

So let’s make an attitude adjustment because as Will points out, “It’s not helpful to be negative. The only way you can help attendance is to encourage your friends to go.”


(doors open at 3:00)

After all, as James so accurately  says, “We’re all on the same team. We’re all Duke.”

Let’s go Duke. And as always (even though our opponent today is UVA) – Go to Hell, Carolina.