I’m really proud of you. I know that’s not something I say very often, but I am.
When our men’s basketball team was slated to host the second round of the National Invitational Tournament at the Curb Event Center last Friday, I didn’t expect you to show up.
Most of my experiences covering games have been pretty predictable. The pep band brings the snark, Greek life brings the sweater vests, and if there’s time between post-game interviews, I’ll chat with the superfans who make it to every single home game, and that’s about it.
But last Friday, Belmont, you acted like you just figured out that we had a really stinking good basketball team, and you came to the game. You cheered; you wore crazy outfits that Coach Byrd definitely commented about in the post-game press conference. Byrd also talked about how he couldn’t remember a Belmont game held in Belmont’s territory as ever being that energetic. He was so giddy. I wish you could have seen it.
You, as a fan base, had fun, and equally as important, we won!
But, I hate to break it to you, Belmont basketball, both men’s and women’s, has been exciting to watch for a really long time. The men have been to the NCAA tournament the first three years I’ve been here and made a fantastic run in the NIT this season. The women played in the CBI tournament last year, and gave UT Martin all they had in this year’s Ohio Valley Conference Championship.
When you’re excited to be at the games, the players are even more excited to be there. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen JJ Mann so excited to play a game of basketball in my four years at Belmont as he was Friday night.
So, what’s next? The Belmont basketball season is over. Remember how much fun you had Friday. Even if you don’t know much about basketball, you learned there is no quiz at the end, so going to games really isn’t scary. The worst that could happen is you get a homework break and make the school look good on ESPN!
Next year, when I come back as an alumna of Belmont University, I expect to see many of you in the stands. This is not a wish to stay in college forever, but rather passing the torch to a group of Bruins who I think are more than ready to help take the basketball program to the next level.
To those who are already die-hard, keep it up. The programs can’t grow without your continued support.
As for the rest of you, thanks for proving me wrong last week. Now, keep proving me wrong.
Belmont ‘Til I Die