From Duke to YLS

December 15, 2008

A.Y., 1L

It was the end of November, and I witnessed a big game, and I’m not talking about a Yale sporting event against Harvard. I’m talking about the Duke/Michigan college basketball showdown. Duke had already defeated Michigan earlier in the season and the Wolverines wanted revenge. That infamous 1992 NCAA championship game, which pitted the FAB 5 against the triple threat of Laetner, Hill, and Hurley, initiated my lifelong obsession with Blue Devil basketball all before the age of 10. Ten years later, I would enter Duke as a freshman and I’ll be driving down to Durham immediately after finals end this semester to attend the Maryland game in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Coming from a school like Duke – which provided a unique combination of stellar academics and unrivaled athletics, joined by a strong dose of school spirit – made me more than a little apprehensive about starting at Yale this past fall. Ivy League sports (and Yale in particular) are hardly in the same league with my Alma matter.

Yet in spite of all of my fears, I got together on a Saturday afternoon with a strong contingent of college basketball aficionados – both pro and anti-Duke – from all three classes of the law school to watch the game. In spite of the fact that there are only two weeks left in the semester, a number of students took a few hours off on a Saturday afternoon to get together and enjoy the rematch. And this is hardly an unusual occurrence.

The diverse but tightly knit student body has provided me with a cadre of fellow sports fans that were out in full force tailgating before the last home game of the football season this year at Yale. Even those who aren’t die-hards are looking forward to watching the game with one just for the experience.

As the semester nears to an end, I can look back fondly on all of the adventures I’ve had with my classmates. One of the greatest aspects about Yale is that the student body is comprised of individuals who are not only brilliant but who have also had a wide range of life experiences. One day you’ll hear about someone who spent a year in Sierra Leone working in refugee camps and the next about one who is simultaneously pursuing his doctorate in genocide studies.

I quickly realized that the Law School has a lot more in common with Duke than I initially imagined. Students are intellectually curious AND curious about the world around them outside of the classroom. Whether it was gathering a crowd to head up to Cambridge for the annual Harvard/Yale football game or getting a group together to attend a local cultural opening, I’ve never had any problem finding willing adventurers.

The most reassuring aspect of it all is the budding loyalty I already feel towards the law school – a sentiment that is reminiscent of the fondness I developed for Duke during my first semester as an undergraduate. And even though I’ll have to deal with some Michigan fans tomorrow afternoon, I can’t get over the fact that my fellow students are willing and eager to head to the bar over the weekend and enjoy the game together.