A Night at The Big East Tournament

14 March 2012

If you know me well enough, you know that I’m a huge sports fan. Football, basketball, baseball, soccer, track, pro, college, playoffs, regular season, it really doesn’t matter.

Here at Princeton I’ve been lucky to meet people with a variety of interests, but it’s clear that not everyone here shares the same passion for sports that I do. Thankfully, I was extremely lucky to find early on that a fellow sports junkie lived right across the hall from me.

Me and our prime view of the court

While we have our differences with me being a Boston fan and him a Los Angeles fan, that doesn’t stop Spencer and me from disturbing the peace with our loud late night sports talks in the hallway, forcing our uninformed dining companions to listen to our arguments at lunch, or making ill-advised high-stakes bets after a night out.

Spencer and I from early on the year had talked about attending the Big East Tournament, which is held at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City, just an hour from campus by train. This tournament decides the winner of the best college basketball conference in the country and is a great tune-up for the upcoming national championship.

When the week of the tournament came, we decided that Thursday night would be the best night for us to go. Initially discouraged by high ticket prices, we employed our knowledge of introductory economics and supply and demand, waiting until a few hours before game time to snag a sweet deal on some tickets for seats in the upper deck.

Obviously, we weren’t planning on sitting in the upper deck. After biding our time on the lowest level of the stadium, during the second half of the first of two games we made a break for an empty group of seats a few rows from the court underneath the basket.

After one unsuccessful attempt and a stern look from a Garden employee, we went for it again and this time we did not fail. There we were, sitting just a few rows from the court in one of the most famous sports venues in the country. The significance hit us when the row next to us that had been empty was all of a sudden filled up by none other than the Notre Dame basketball team, who would play later that night.

By the time the second game started, the Garden was rocking and we were right in the middle of the action. I couldn’t help but feel lucky and satisfied that our assertiveness had given us the opportunity to sit so close the floor.

The second game went into overtime and when it was over Spencer and I knew that it had been a truly special night, two huge basketball fans getting the chance to see a great game in an amazing arena. Despite my phone dying before we left, a mad dash from McDonalds, a late train ride home, and a very disrespectful ponytailed man at Penn Station, it was easily one of my most fun nights at college.

The lesson I learned from this experience is that anytime you have an opportunity to do something fun in college, take it. I could have just as easily stayed home, saved the money, and studied for midterms for one extra day. But would I have remembered that ten years from now? Absolutely not.

Instead I’ll remember a great night of basketball in New York City with one of my boys. Make the most of every opportunity, because the memories will be a lot more fun to talk about at reunions than the regrets.

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