And, just like that, I'm heading home.
It was quite a game tonight. I'm glad I was here - now I can say that I've been to an NCAA game. (Depending on my future career, I hope I get to go to a lot more.) And it's always great to see the Cougars.
But it was heartbreaking and disappointing. It's such a strange way to end the sports season, to lose one game and all of a sudden it's time to go home. It's especially a strange way to end a college basketball career, for Jimmer, Jackson and Logan.
In the 48 hours I was here, I was very productive. Besides writing five stories for The Daily Universe, I also saw a lot of the French Quarter and the surrounding area.
I like New Orleans a lot. It's definitely got something that no other city has. In a lot of ways it's like Las Vegas. But even if the "hedonistic" lifestyle is the same in both cities, Vegas is sleeker and shinier, more futuristic. New Orleans looks and feels 200 years old, and it's not as clean as Vegas. But that gives it its own appeal.
Today, I spent the morning roaming the French Quarter, looking for BYU fans to talk to and also took a ton of photos. It was a little bit strange being a tourist all alone, I wish Erin and Allisyn were with me. But I saw a lot of cool stuff.
Here's the story I wrote:
New Orleans: A different way of life
And, here's a link to my Facebook photo album with all the photos (I set it so that "Everyone" could see it, so you shouldn't have any trouble accessing it):
I'll put some photos here too, just to make my blog pretty:
Then, I walked over to the arena for the game. When I got to my assigned seat, I discovered how lucky I was to be here:
Doesn't get much better than that.
At the media buffet, I met Matt Marheine from The Daily Cardinal, one of Wisconsin's student newspapers. It was great to meet him and chat with him. He even offered to loan his photos of the BYU vs. Florida game to The Daily Universe, which was super nice.
Also before the game, I got my chance to meet Andy Katz. I came up to him and said hi, and that I was the student newspaper guy who Pat Forde talked to. He seemed to remember me from that article. He didn't have anything to say, and I couldn't think of anything. (It was a few minutes before the game, so he was probably a little busy.) So it was a little awkward. Afterward I was thinking, "Duh! I should have told him that I'm a big fan of his and love listening to his podcast and thanks for watching and supporting BYU all year." But, too late. I was awkward. (Now I'll never get a job at ESPN! Just kidding.)
Then it was game time. It was tough to not be vocal! I felt like the team sometimes needed one more voice to cheer for them. But, all in all, the guys worked hard and definitely deserve to be commended, not only for making it to the Sweet 16 but for everything they've done all year.
Of course, even though I was prepared for either a Butler or a Wisconsin preview, now I couldn't use that. Instead, I filled up that newspaper space with an extra story on this being the last game for Jimmer, Jackson and Logan. At the press conference, I asked Jimmer and Jackson about the emotions they were feeling and the thoughts running through their head, and they said a lot of nice things, enough for me to come up with a separate story. It was probably the fastest story I've ever written!
You can see all three stories in Friday's Daily Universe. Or, right here on my blog!
(The link to my BYU fans in New Orleans story is above.)
Sweet ride comes to an end
BYU seniors go out with a memorable season
Oh, I almost forgot: Cory Giger tweeted me to ask if I would be on his show again! This time just to talk about the game. It was pretty cool, and I think the interview went well.
And this one is available online!
Sports Central with Cory Giger 3/24/11 (Go to the 1:02:55 mark to get to my interview.)