Follow the Band-uh through March Madness

In case you have been living under a rock, UC Davis's Men’s Basketball team recently qualified for March Madness for the first time. Entering into the tournament means one very exciting/stressful/life-changing thing as a member of the school's marching band - you get to go on an all expense paid trip to support the team, while subsequently missing half of Week 9 and all of Week 10.

I attended this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as a member of the Band-uh. Follow my journey (via mostly Snapchat) here!

1. The first step was attending Anaheim during the back half of Week 9 of school. We left at 3:00 am on our way to the Big West Tournament in hopes that our Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams would take the championship.

Our blurry, bright-eyed faces at this point had no idea what to expect. The tournament, like March Madness, was last man standing, so your team plays until they lose a game. That meant when signing up, we had no idea how long the commitment will be.

2. Unfortunately, after having a STELLAR season, our women’s team got knocked out by UCSB in the semi-finals (they are currently playing in the NIT, if you want to support this fantastic team). It was all up to the men for our NCAA dreams.

In the men's championship game, we faced Irvine. Stress was unbearable in the clarinet section.

3. But we came out with OUR CHAMPIONSHIP WIN, and officially booked the men’s first ticket to the NCAA.

4. We won on a Saturday night, and headed back to Davis early Sunday morning. At 2:30pm we would find out where and when our team would play (anywhere around the USA and at anytime during Week 10).

We celebrated that on the upcoming Wednesday we would be playing in Dayton, Ohio against another 16th seeded team in the First Four round.

5. We got home Sunday evening, confident that our playing on Wednesday would give us a day in Davis to collect ourselves.

Nope. At 7:00pm we learned we would be leaving the next morning at 6:50am to Ohio.

What followed were panicked emails to professors, haphazard packing, and stress crying about missing all of Week 10 of school. (Shout out to every single one of my professors who ended up being unbelievably accommodating and understanding!)

There’s no picture during this part because nobody wants to see that kind of stress documented.

6. That stress went away pretty fast once next morning arrived. We quickly learned that being part of the NCAA meant things were about to get nice.

The local news was there to send us off.

And we bypassed airports, security, luggage check, and everthing else that's stressful about flying to travel on a charter plane.

7. Once in Dayton, Ohio, it was all about gearing up for the first game.

On Wednesday, Davis did their thing and pulled their first NCAA win. There are no words to describe how proud and excited we were for our hardworking b-ball team. Screaming, some tears, and millions of pictures don’t even begin to explain the energy that every Aggie fan felt that night!

This is my section pointing to UC Davis that got Sharpie-d in to the official bracket after we beat the other 16th seed team.

It also meant that we flew out to Tulsa, Oklahoma that very night.

Here we are about to leave Dayton, Ohio at the private airport holding where we flew out on another charter plane. NCAA treats you nice, even if you are just a clarinet player along for the ride.

8. Once we arrived in Oklahoma, we knew we would be against the number 1 seed in the tournament - Kansas. No 16th seed has ever beating a number 1 seed in tournament history.

However, that didn’t deter us, and our team played their absolute hearts out.

We may have walked away without the win, but this was the score at one point in the game and that was impressive enough to me.

And also Rob Lowe was there to cheer the Aggies, another win.

From March 9th to March 18th, I got to travel with our incredible basketball team who made history for our school and put UC Davis on the map nationwide. This article has just a few snapshots of the life-changing experience every one of us felt as we supported our team. Here’s to next season where we will hopefully get back to this tournament - Go Ags!

*Images owned by Her Campus author Alexandra Quilici and her friend Briana Vargas.

Cover photo source: Wall Street Survivor