<I’ve been meaning to get this out, but life seems to always get in the way. I wanted to document as many details as possible, this way I don’t forget any as I get any older!>
With losses to Saint Louis and Butler, an entry to the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament was looking bleak for La Salle University. But with the last pick, the NCAA Selection Committee chose the Explorers for a First Round/First Four game against Boise State University. Formerly known as a ‘Play-In Game’, it was still a seat at the table for my alma mater. Not having played a tournament game in 20 years, this was big and I decided that I was going to drive to Dayton to see the game. Surprising me though, was Staci’s suggestion that I take Abby along for the ride. It was the beginning of the new quarter, her extended spring break started a few days later and she’s a straight A student. Spending some quality father/daughter time was alright by me. I rented a car from our local Enterprise office and we left Wednesday morning and drove to Dayton, Ohio. The University of Dayton arena was the First Four site to see whether the Explorers would come away with a #13 seed and enter the bracket of 64.
What I didn’t expect was to enter one of the most memorable two week periods of my entire life. A roller coaster ride for my family, alma mater and friends that could be described as ‘once in a lifetime’. So here’s the long-form Travel Diary!
Day 1: Royersford to Dayton
- 8 hour drive
- 520 miles
We headed off in our trusty Enterprise rental, a Mazda 6. I’ve always had good luck with renting Mazda’s from Enterprise, as they usually include Bluetooth and are pretty comfortable to drive. I decided to tempt fate and told the clerk to give me unlimited miles all the way to Missouri, just in case.
We left Royersford and headed due west. The lovely PA Turnpike and I-70 was our trek and we arrived at our hotel in Dayton a little before 3ish. By good luck, we ran into Jim Gulick in the hotel lobby, La Salle Athletics Alumni head and he gave us a parking pass and instruction to the night’s Pre-Game Reception. Abby and I caught a few hours rest and headed down to the reception, where we ran into some good friends and fellow road trippers from Royersford! It was great to see Wade Brosius and his son Jack had the same idea as we did.
Picking up our tickets from the players/VIP entrance was pretty neat and we headed into the Dayton arena. What a great spot for basketball! The arena was large, but not monstrous. I think that an arena like Dayton’s is something that La Salle could strive for, as long as the entire University community is behind it.
It was great to see an actual crowd of folks there rooting the team on. Students made the drive from Philly, as well as alumni, both local to Ohio and not. Even seemed that the Dayton fans who stayed were rooting for a fellow Atlantic 10 team. Of course, I would be remiss in discussing fans rooting for the team without mentioning our very own ‘Glitter Bro’! It was great to see the energy that he brought to each game and more importantly, am proud to call him friend and brother. Big props to Lieutenant Colonel Douglas LeVien, USA. Ringleader of the Glitter Bros, Sigma Phi Epsilon brother and friend. Way to represent!
Final Score: La Salle 80, Boise State 71
Staci, Abby and I decided- Father & Daughter would drive to the Round of 64 (Second Round) game in Kansas City. Our alma mater was now a #13 seed, set to face off against #4 Kansas State in what seemed to be a home game for K-State.