Not sure if I made this clear last night or not. TexAgs.com, the company I work for, has sent me to Spokane, WA for the NCAA tournament games that Texas A&M is playing in. Today our game is against Utah State (who’s mascot is the Aggies as well), and if we win we’ll play the winner of Purdue/Siena on Sunday afternoon.
I’m excited to be here, but it’s not nearly as fun going out of town and not having Jen along with me. For a while now I’ve seen guys go out of town without their wives (even though we aren’t married yet) and have a hard time with it. I have to admit I’ve never quite understood why it’s so hard…now, I get it.
5:30 AM: Woke up at 530 this morning and hated myself for it. Trying to get back to sleep with Gabe rustling around in the room wasn’t the easiest thing to do. You ever notice how hard things like going pee become in the morning when you aren’t awake? I dont even try getting a drink of water in the middle of the night, nearly impossible.
8:30 AM: Finally got out of bed and wanted to do a little workout. Got some crossfitting done in the room. After that I’m pretty sure that Gabe thinks I’m crazy. Oh well though. Showered and got going to breakfast.
9:45 AM: Went to a little place called Molly’s. The girl at the coffee bar reccomended we give it a try this morning, and I always like taking a local’s pick for breakfasts.
I think if I had to eat one meal for the rest of my life it would be breakfast. You can really eat anything at breakfast (as my fiancee has recently taught me), but nothing beats some eggs and coffee.
Ate with Looch this morning. I’ve been to the tournament literally every year A&M has been this decade, and I’ve worked at TexAgs for going on four years now, and I think I can count on one hand how many times I’ve had a meal with Billy. Dude is genuinely funny! I guess this shouldn’t surprise me, but he also really loves A&M. Great conversation about how we should be able to play today, and how his drive over from Seattle went yesterday afternoon.
(Maybe more on this later if we win, I hear he’s buying dinner since I got breakfast.)
10:30 AM: Got back to the hotel room and started packing up my stuff to leave for the game. I picked up my backpack and I swear this thing weighs at least 50 pounds when it’s loaded down. Cameras, lenses, video camera, wires, headphones, battery pack, and camera light all add up.
11:00 AM: We jump on the media shuttle to head to the arena. Driving through Spokane you get a lot of different perspectives of this city. At one point you see nothing but giant buildings (in the same way that you would experience somewhere like Lincoln, Nebraska), and then drive over one of the coolest rives you’ve ever seen. I don’t know the name of the river that we crossed over, but there was a set of rapids running right next to the middle of downtown.
My initial thoughts on Spokane are this: 1)beautiful city that clearly has money, 2)not as big as I would have imagined, 3)the people are awesome, and very friendly. Seems like a blue collar kind of town, or at least as blue collar as you can get here in the Northwest.
11:30 AM: Spokane Arena is…underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re running a great tournament here (though as a photographer I’d have to pay $350 for wired internet access, that’s just dumb!). You can tell though that like many of the locations for these first round games, it wasn’t built for big time college basketball.
Why is it that the NCAA can’t play tourney games in places built to hold college basketball games? I understand it’s all about revenue and how many people you can sell tickets too, but why not give the fans a better experience at a game? Not to mention the football caverns they play sweet 16 round games in, and the final four. I haven’t seen a basketball game from one of those stadiums yet, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be the best place to catch a game.
12:03 PM: Siena/Purdue is happening right now. The Siena band is sitting right in front of me, and for a small school they aren’t half bad.
One of my buddies has been harping on me for years the the Aggie basketball band (what’s the name?), should wear rugby style polos like the [url=http://www.marquette.edu/band/images/IMG_0067.JPG]Marquette[/url] band wears. I think the Ags should institute the same thing next year. Or an entire band of costumed bandsmen.
Speaking of which, SASQUATCH just walked into Spokane areana and sat down wearing an Aggie sweatshirt. I LOVE the direction the students have taken in Reed arena. It’s like Halloween every night in that place, and it makes for so much fun watching games.
[i]If we make it to Houston for weekend 2 of the tourney, I really hope to see Gumby, the Panda, 15 Green Man’s, and the tu girl rocking it out in Reliant.[/i] But that might be getting a bit ahead of myself…a guy can dream can’t he?
12:15 PM: Cornell as the 12 just took down Temple in the 5. Here’s to hoping that’s the 12/5 upset for this year.
Let’s BTHO Utah State!
12:16 PM: Oh, and there won’t be any pics until after the game. I’ll have a gallery up after we finish playing, but unlike last year I’m not going to be able to get anything up from pregame. The $350 just isn’t worth it.