Why Wednesday night Shooters is the best tradition at Duke

Slaying in the cages

I was two weeks into college when one night, I received the most puzzling text from my brother: “Have you been to shooters yet?” Dumbfounded, I sent him the photo of the cage above my head, conquered by the courageous champions of the night.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I was at the local nightclub Shooters II that very night. It was a Wednesday night and I was tired, but I wasn’t going home without dancing to The Chainsmoker’s “Closer”, the ultimate song to round off the night.

Of all the traditions at Duke, from Cameron Crazies to tunneling underground, Wednesday night Shooters is by far the most significant because there is really nothing like it. Starting the weekend on a Wednesday, we Duke students prove that we don’t live by the rules to have fun. Even though we know we will inevitably miss our 8:30 class the next morning, we’ve got our priorities straight – rapturously rubbing against people we will possibly never talk to again is obviously more fruitful than dozing off to lectures from moderately intelligent professors.

We complain that it’s cramped and absolutely disgusting – having to slide through the beautiful mixture of sweat, beer and the occasional vomit – but in that moment, the heat and repulsive physical contact only bring people closer together. The difficulty of communicating through speech thanks to the excessively loud music adds more mystery to the stranger that we feel we’ve made a true connection with.

And if we’re lucky, this person will, after ten minutes of intense “vibing”, offer an invitation back to his or her room to get to know each other at a more intimate level. Even better, we can force annoying roommates to awkwardly wait in the common room and dread their boring lives while we enjoy our heart-to-hearts with someone we could only hope to remember the name of the next morning.

Shooters serves as a confidence boost – one wink from an attractive stranger from across the dance floor will immediately remind us how awesome we are. We are revitalized by mindlessly dancing to shake off the immense load of stress that has accumulated Monday and Tuesday. And no matter what happens that night, we are able to wake up the next morning and go on with life, energized and ready for the remaining two days of the week.


This is why Wednesday night Shooters is the best. There is no better way of avoiding all terrible realities and no other way to make mistakes that could be completely disregarded the following day as if nothing happened – or at least pretend. But there are certain dos and donts that you must look out for to relish your experience at the fullest:

Show up drunk

You will want to be as out of your mind as possible to overlook the insignificant but very noticeable scenarios that take place.

Don’t refuse to come because you’re sober

It is so much fun taking advantage of your friends and publicizing their terrible mistakes on social media.

Do go to the 2nd floor and scan the 1st floor to find the love of your life

It is highly likely that you will find her or him.

Don’t make out with one person while grinding on another

You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. People can get very emotionally attached within a few seconds.

Do have fun with strangers

Many of your best friends can be made in atmospheres like Shooters.

Don’t drink opened drinks that they offer you though

They may have spit in it. You don’t want to drink someone’s saliva.

Do climb into the cage and boogie

Because when else would you be able to do that?

Don’t beat yourself up if you miss your 8:30 class on Thursday morning

You could take a break next Wednesday. But you’ll probably somehow end up going out again. Isn’t that the beauty of this tradition?

Duke University