Monday, March 13th will live on in the memories of Cal Women’s Basketball fans forever. It was on this day, when all hopes of an NCAA March Madness bid seemed lost, that Cal earned a 9 seed. The team jumped for joy as they learned they were going back to the Big Dance. I was ecstatic and immediately began composing emails to all my professors letting them know I would be in Waco, Texas. As a member of Cal Band, I had the unique opportunity to travel with the basketball team to the NCAA Tournament and cheer them on. Fortunately for me, my professors were all very accommodating and allowed me to miss class on Friday and Monday, provided I stayed on top of all the material and assignments I missed.
Before I knew it, I was standing on the tarmac in Oakland waiting to get on a charter plane to Waco, home of Baylor University. I couldn’t believe my luck. Not only was I going to cheer on the team (one of my favorite things to do because I love sports), but it was free! In fact, I even got Per Diem, or an allotted amount of money each day to spend on food. I felt like I was living the life, and made sure to send a few texts every now and then to make my friends back in Berkeley a little jealous.
While in Texas, the band decided to do some sightseeing, since we had a day before our first game. So we drove to Austin, the state capitol, and explored the city Texans call “weird”. I have to say, Berkeley is a lot weirder than Austin. Nevertheless, I had lots of fun touring the city and eating some amazing barbecue for dinner. The next day was our first game against LSU, and I spent the first half of the day exploring Waco before getting ready to play and cheer my heart out, which worked as the Golden Bears defeated the Tigers by 3 to move on to the Second Round against Baylor. Again, we had a day in between games, so we got on a bus and drove down to San Antonio, where I enjoyed a nice boat ride on the San Antonio River and took a tour of The Alamo. On our fourth day in Texas, the Golden Bears played a well fought, tough game against Baylor but ultimately lost, and we came home that night.
And that brings me to today. As I write this there are only three days left until Spring Break. Three long days, filled with a midterm, a paper, and lots of work to catch up on. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. Every week brings some new experience here, and I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to travel to Texas and cheer on our women’s basketball team.