Spring Break for Sam Houston State students started off in style when the Bearkat basketball team beat the Stephen F. Austin State Lumberjacks. Donald Cole’s three-pointer in overtime set the wheels in motion for what would become a true Spring Break adventure.
For starters, I want to thank the Sam Houston State and Huntsville communities for coming and supporting the Kats in their win against the Lumberjacks.
On the first Friday of the break students, faculty, staff and the community packed Johnson Coliseum. For the two games the Bearkats hosted, a combined total of nearly 10,000 people showed to cheer on their team.
After the SFA newspaper, The Pine Log, called SHSU out for not supporting the Kats in the previous showdown, the Bearkat faithful showed the ‘Jacks what school spirit is all about.
By the way, SFA had a whopping 2,496 in attendance when they played Southwest Texas in the semifinals. I guess the biggest game of the year wasn’t important enough for Lumberjack fans to fill their Coliseum.
I would also like to thank the Bearkat band for their presence during the season. The games all season long had a different feel from last year when you could hear a pin drop in Johnson Coliseum. Late in the season, when the stands were packed, the band added excitement to the game, giving it a “big school” atmosphere.
When I heard the news that the Kats were going to Tampa, I was pumped about heading to Florida for a part of my vacation. Once the dust of my plans to get there settled, myself, Cody Stark, Matthew Normand and athletic trainer Brian Parker loaded into Cody’s truck for the 1,000-mile journey. The drive was worth it because we were going to see our school play in its first ever NCAA tournament game. Sixteen hours in a truck can do a job on your body, but when we pulled into Tampa we knew the pain was worth it because we were there to support our team.
On Friday night the Florida Gators, who were only two hours from their home in Gainesville, showed the Bearkats why they were ranked No. 1 in the country earlier in the season. The three-point display the Gators put on in the second half was a sight to see. As a basketball fan I was amazed at the hot shooting; as a Bearkat fan I was depressed to see our team lose.
The reason for the trip was of course to “work”. I was an impartial journalist from Huntsville and I was “working”. Let’s be serious – I had to try my hardest to stop from cheering from my seat on press row directly behind the Florida bench. I probably didn’t do the best job in the world, but I don’t regret it at all.
Despite the outcome of Friday night’s game, I left the St. Pete Times Forum with my head held high. I felt good knowing the reason I was even in Tampa was because our team was the best of the best in the Southland Conference and we beat SFA to make it to the Big Dance.
All in all, this Spring Break was one of the best I’ve ever had. The Thursday before our week away from school I had no plans and I ended up driving over 2,000 miles and getting to go see the NCAA Tournament.
As a Bearkat basketball fan, I want to thank the team for giving me the opportunity to travel and give them congratulations on a great season.