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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Diary of Marquette’s pep band at NCAA Tournament

Marquette Lately
Photo by John Leuzzi ([email protected])
Reporter Rashad Alexander (right) joined Marquette’s men’s basketball team in Fort Worth, Texas.

Editor’s Note: This story contains opinionated statements.

The month of March brings on one of the most exciting events in all of sports: The NCAA Tournament. And as the Golden Eagles go on the road to play for a national title, they brought the Marquette Band along for the ride.

As a clarinet player for the band, I got the opportunity to go with the Golden Eagles to Marquette’s first round game against the North Carolina Tar Heels in Fort Worth, Texas. This is Marquette’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2019, so it would only be right to document the party in Texas as the team goes dancing.

Tuesday March 15

The trip to Panther City is finally here!

After getting our travel information literally the night before, due to waiting on the team to get the travel information, we got on our coach bus at noon and headed to the airport to catch the charter plane to head down to Texas.

On the charter plane, along with the team was University President Michael Lovell and a huge group of people associated with Marquette traveling with us. I thought it was just going to be just the band on the flight, but I guess Marquette Athletics didn’t think we needed our own plane to get to Forth Worth.

Once we landed in Texas, we went straight to the hotel where I actually saw head coach Shaka Smart since we were staying at the same hotel as the team. I was surprised to see him and I were nearly the same height. It made me think I can still achieve my hoop dreams. But the first night in Texas was chill. We went to eat at this restaurant called The Bearded Lady, where I got a burger with queso on it. That burger most certainly hit the spot. After that, we got ice cream at a place nearby called Morgan’s Ice Cream, and called it a night.

Wednesday March 16 

The Golden Eagles had an open practice to the public at Dickie’s Arena, the site of the first and second round games in Texas, and we were asked to perform while they practiced.

Why did the band need to be at a practice that was only 45 minutes and not that many people there? Beats me, but the practice was a success, as we played the whole time. We were also in the tunnel where we got to see the players from other schools like Baylor and North Carolina. I felt like an NBA player walking through the tunnel for game day.

The arena was smaller than Fiserv Forum, but our seats were closer to the floor, versus at Fiserv where we’re in the student section. I definitely had a better view of the game than I would in Milwaukee.

But after the practice some of the band had lunch and dinner together and called it a day, as tomorrow was the day that decided how long we stayed in Texas.

Thursday March 17

The day we’ve all been waiting for: Game day!

After sending the team off as they exited the hotel with “Ring Out Ahoya,” the Marquette Band and spirit squad were ready to cheer on our squad to the second round.

And let me tell you, it was a good thing the band showed up because the basketball team certainly didn’t.

For me it was a fun game to watch for about the first five minutes, then it just felt like watching an eighth grade squad taking on a varsity team. North Carolina beat Marquette by a whopping 32 points. At that point, there wasn’t really much you could be peppy about if you’re rooting for the Golden Eagles.

It was a weird feeling leaving the bus from the game. Yeah, I wasn’t actually on the court playing, but having to go home early sucked. Texas was still an exciting time. Never did I think band would take me places I have never been to, but I got this opportunity and I’ll cherish it forever! I just wish the basketball team would have made the experience just a little longer.

This story was written by Rashad Alexander. He can be reached at [email protected].

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