It’s Thursday evening; we spent the afternoon venturing northbound to Orlando for the NCAA tournament. Florida Gulf Coast’s very own Eagles are taking on the Seminoles, and we are here to witness all of the action first-hand. Navigating into the stadium, we push through the masses in cranberry chanting, “Ooooh” with their arms motioning in the typical Seminole chant. Entering the arena, we recognize familiar shades of blue and green, our very own Southwest Florida locals amid the crowd. Rather than taking a seat and watching the court like a typical fan, we plan to spend our time at the game talking to spectators. Wandering through the bustling crowds, we eagerly search for local Southwest Florida fans to experience March Madness through their point of view.
My heart is racing as the teams are announced, and the game is underway. The mood is electric. Fans are yelling, jumping and cheering, the rhythm of the crowd mimics that of my heartbeat. “Dunks” is the word of the night; some fans think that will be the key to FGCU’s success, as shown in previous years.
The game is off to a slow start, yet FGCU fans remain optimistic. We take to the crowd to experience the game from the vantage point of the fans. Enthusiastic fans express their excitement.
We made our way up to the nosebleeds, where we found an FGCU alumni who made the trip down from his home in Daytona to watch his team play another year at March Madness. Shortly after, we ran into an FGCU fan. Decked out in Saint Patrick’s Day gear, he told us about the importance of having Florida Gulf Coast make it to March Madness because it brings awareness to the area and it proves its relevance as a university.
It’s the second half, and we continue to move throughout the stadium to watch the game until its final moments.
As the match comes to a close, some fans hang their heads while others remain cheerful and optimistic. We exit the doors of Amway Center to ask fans, “So, what do you think about how the game went?”
A group of fans jokingly responded, “First half was good, the second half doesn’t count, because we’re going protest–it’s not my second half.”