Our trip to West Texas started at Oakland International Airport on Thursday, March 21st, where we all got onto a Southwest flight direct to Lubbock, Texas. The Band and Cheer Team filled the back of the plane as the women’s team filled the front with plenty of room to expand and relax as we were the only people on the flight.
After our long flight and helping out on shooting some for the team’s music video,
we touched down in the middle of a dust storm in Lubbock, quickly getting our bags and getting onto our bus.
We went to stay at the Overton Hotel with the team, and spent the evening at a Chili’s, a block away. There, we proceeded to watch all of the NCAA Tournament games that were on, cheering on our men’s team in San Jose against UNLV. We were very close to campus, just a block over, and you could see the football field (on the right) and the indoor training facility (white dome left) from our rooms.
On Friday, we were left to our own devices in the morning before playing for the women’s team as they got on their bus, and we followed them to the United Sports Arena.
There was a lot of free time before the game was going to start, and so some of us took to wandering and exploring the home of Texas Tech basketball. It was a pretty big arena. The perimeter of the area was very high in relation to the rest of the floor, so fans had to go down to get to the majority of the seats, though there was a small upper deck.
There were lovely display cases around the arena displaying the triumphs of the Red Raiders and Lady Raiders.
As we waited for the game to begin, the bands entertained the ENORMOUS crowd that was developing for the coming match between two California teams.
As the game began, the Bears were full of energy, ready to take down the Lady Raiders!
We had a lovely but small group of Cal fans that had made the trip with the team, getting excited as the Bears pulled away from the Bulldogs.
Fresno State chose to start fouling early, and the game seemed to get longer, though that meant we had front row seats for our team’s free throw attempts (which weren’t as bad as they would get on Sunday).
During the second half, they brought the two other bands out and had them begin to setup for the second match, so we got to see South Florida’s band up close as our game closed out, not expecting to see them opposite us on Sunday.
We watched as Cal coasted to a wonderful 1st round win easily, surpassing the troubles of the first half and moving on to play the winner of the second game, that would happen to be the upset, South Florida.
We found that Sunday was apparently not the day to try and do much on campus or around it, so we once again had our own personal excursions the day after our win, before many went to Chili’s and crowded around TV’s in rooms to watch the men’s game against Syracuse. The afternoon’s highlight, however, was another dust storm that rolled through Lubbock, making transit out of the hotel pretty interesting. We were later told these were called “haboobs.” It was much like a San Francisco foggy day, but with all the moisture replaced with dust.
On Monday morning though, we walked over to the campus, which was a block away from our hotel, and wandered about.
As we walked around campus, it was unified by a dusty, tan brick architecture. We wandered into their student union and gave it a tour. On the inside it had the feeling of an airport or a hospital, the vibe being very different from the outside façade.
By the other entrance at the bookstore, they had flags for each member of the Big XII Conference flying over the doorway.
Even in West Texas, the brick architecture can’t stay uniform, as can be seen by their version of the East Asian Library.
We also got a brief glance in at their Music Department, wandering through their locker room, as well as a cursory look at their practice space. Before you enter you find a modest display case, showing off the uniform and honors they’ve received, including their Sudler’s Trophy.
They even have a van for their band needs, just like Cal Band!
In the central circle to the campus, there are two statues: One Will Rogers ‘riding into the sunset,’ as the Matador, the original mascot of Texas Tech still immortalized in their fight song. The other is the emblem of the university, standing behind its open gates.
The second game against the Bulls of South Florida took place Monday evening. We played for the team before we all loaded onto the buses with everything we had before heading to the United Spirit Arena for one more game. Very much like the first, there was barely a crowd once Texas Tech got upset, the locals having very little stomach for more.
The game was very close, and we in the band did our best to distract South Florida when they came to the line.
Even Sandy Barbour came to watch, who flew out just to catch the final game.
As the game continued, free throws got more and more important, with the Bears shooting down at our end.
The Cal fans were into it the entire time, rallying as we kept ourselves in the game, coming from behind.
As the pressure built from the end of regulation…
To overtime got more and more anxious….
…until we were victorious and moved on to the Sweet Sixteen!
We hope you enjoyed the view the band had while in Lubbock, we’ll have some pictures from Spokane and New Orleans soon. Go Bears!