Early last semester, my RA called me around 8:00 pm and said, “Do you want to do something spontaneous?” Due to my self-diagnosed condition of Fear of Missing Out, I replied with an excited yes, completely unaware of what would soon become an SMU tradition. She asked me to camp out for basketball tickets with her, just to say we did it. When we got there, there were only two other tents, and hardly anyone cared enough to wait in line all night in the freezing February weather for tickets that they could just pick up in the morning. A small group of us hung out, played guitar, sang songs, told stories, did homework, and had an overall memorable experience. Little did we know that camping out would become an absolute necessity with the increasing and sudden success of our men’s basketball team.
Larry Brown joined SMU last year as our new head coach for basketball, which was a huge deal considering the fact that he is the only man in the world to have led a team to victory in both an NBA and an NCAA championship. He’s known as “the Godfather” in the basketball world because virtually every coach in the NBA or NCAA has worked with Coach Brown, and he somehow knows everyone. This affectionate nickname led to the formation of a student spirit group called The Mob, which I joined last semester. We get tickets in the best section of the newly-renovated Moody Coliseum, section 112, right behind the players and right across from where George and Laura Bush sit. Last semester, our team was good. And then we got better. And then we were so amazing that Moody started to sell out. Throughout this process, camping out for basketball tickets became a sort of tradition among almost all SMU students. The second time I camped out, I was about ten tents back from the ticket booth, and the line wrapped all the way around the building within a few hours. People brought couches, TVs, tables, sound systems, and so much more. I was blown away by the school spirit and unity that the basketball team was bringing to campus. By the next campout, there were news crews and cameras everywhere, and Larry Brown personally handed us donuts and orange juice in the morning. There was a line that stretched all the way around the building, going far beyond the last two campouts combined, with a sign at the front of the line that said “Larrybrownville”.
Although we didn’t make it to the NCAA championship, we made it to the NIT championship, and the journey that we took as a supportive student body was incredible. From camping out to dressing up as a blue squid for games to having a student ticket worth over $1,000.00 (had I sold it – which I didn’t) for the game against Louisville, the 2014 basketball season was something that I will never forget – and I don’t think SMU will either. I was beyond thankful to have participated in this new aspect of SMU, and I can’t even imagine how crazy basketball season will be next year!