My observations thus far have further cemented an idea that I wrote about in my first blog post—Detroiters are unbelievably proud of their city. Last weekend, I decided to bike around Detroit on my own. I explored downtown, Greektown, and Mexicantown. Regardless of where I was, I noticed so many people wearing T-shirts with large printed words like “DETROIT VS EVERYBODY,” “DETROIT NEVER STOPS,” or “I HAVE PEOPLE IN DETROIT.” I also played basketball at the courts downtown with some locals. As I was wearing a Duke T-shirt, they noticed I wasn’t from the area and proudly welcomed me to their beloved city. I spoke to them for a while about why they love Detroit and how much it has changed in recent years. They were genuinely convinced that Detroit will rise from the ashes to become one of the country’s most influential cities.
This past weekend, John, Arjun, and I went to a Detroit City Football Club (Detroit’s semi-professional soccer team) game. The environment of the game caught my eye. Although DCFC is not even a top-tier professional team, I have never experienced a livelier sports atmosphere. Fans chanted unceasingly throughout the entire game, yelling things like “No one likes us… We don’t care.” My personal favorite chant was a tune that went like this: “I will sing for you City, ‘till you finish the fight / There’s gonna be a party in Detroit, no one’s sleeping tonight.” Each time the home team scored a goal, I received high fives from strangers all around me. Below are a photo and a video that cannot alone do justice to the electric atmosphere of the stadium. Simply attending that game made me feel like I was a part of the Detroit community. I couldn’t help but feel important, like I truly belonged in the city. This game not only confirmed my notion of Detroit’s pride, but also showed me that people here treat each other like family.
“Living in the moment” has allowed me to appreciate my DukeEngage experience so much more. I’ve made a conscious effort to interact with the people of the city in a way that gives me an “authentic” view of Detroit’s cultural atmosphere. Through these interactions, I have been able to reflect on the Motor City’s pride and hospitality. Had I not opened my eyes and consciously attempted to immerse myself in the city, I definitely would not have been able to reflect as deeply on my experiences in Detroit thus far.