I’ve been back in Clemson for a few days, but the beginning of the week still feels like a dream. As a member of the Clemson University dance team, I was invited to travel with the men’s basketball team to New York City to cheer on the sidelines at the NIT final four. Not to mention the game was held on the world’s most famous stage in Madison Square Garden.
We left for New York on Sunday, March 31st, and after a bumpy flight, landed in the Big Apple that afternoon. Unsure of how long we would be there, we made the most of our time. We visited the Empire State Building, the Met, Central Park, saw a Broadway show, and had our fair share of cheesecake.
Before the game on Tuesday, we woke up at 4:30am to go stand outside of the Today Show in Rockefeller Plaza, in hopes of being on millions of screens across America. It was cold, I was tired, and then I got to take a selfie with host, Willy Geist. Overall, a success. After our five minutes of fame, we went back to the hotel to rest and get ready for the big game that night.
It wasn’t until the bus ride over to the team’s send-off at their hotel did the nerves set in. I was about to dance in a world famous venue in front of thousands of people and thousands more on television. This was also a huge game for the team, and we all performed our pre-game good luck rituals to try and help them out a bit.
We get to Madison Square Garden, and it’s magical. Corny, I know, but it’s the truth. The game begins and we’re dancing and cheering, and I swear five minutes later, the first half is over. We were up by 12-points and honestly, I knew we had it. I came out for the second half, ecstatic for our team and how well they played, and at the fact we we’re going to get to say a few more days.
We lost it in the last five minutes of the game with a final score of 59-65. I know how common that is during basketball games, but I felt that if we wanted the win bad enough, it would come to fruition. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, and we left a little heartbroken.
However, we didn’t let that ruin the time we’d had and the experience we won’t forget. We ended going 23-13 after post-season. The Clemson Tigers have had a tremendous season and we can’t wait to do it all again next year!