By Lauren Solzman
The MIAA basketball tournament, hosted at Kansas City Municipal Auditorium, is always a fun time. There are Tiger alumni all over the city spreading the black and gold spirit and singing the Beer Song. There are pom poms passed throughout the audience at the games, black and gold beads strung across almost every person’s neck, gold shirts everywhere, and Tigers past and present singing and clapping along to the FHSU fight song.
As a member of a spirit squad at Fort Hays State, there’s nothing I love more than seeing the camaraderie and friendship that being a Tiger brings with it. I’ve seen friendships blossom between cheerleaders and fans, between basketball players and dancers, between coaches and the band, and most greatly between players and their teammates.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing the Tigers on the court celebrating with each other. It doesn’t have to be a massive win to instigate a celebration between players. Sometimes it just takes a good play an awesome shot to spark a massive hug from Beth or a scream of enthusiasm from Craig. You can always count on the players on the bench to be jumping up and down when something marvelous happens, and there to reassure their teammates when things are looking grim.
If you stick around and watch every basketball game like I do, you get to know the players personalities, and it makes you feel tied to the team. I know every time I see Nikki go in, the pace of play is going to pick up, or when Chelsea goes in the crowd goes wild.
The MIAA tournament this past weekend was fun as always. The alumni association does a great job of getting people out to a pep rally before each game, and it really boosts the Tiger spirit. One of my favorite memories is Mr. Bickle in his FHSU basketball jersey and tiger hat leading the Beer Song. The games on Thursday and Friday were a blast to watch, having the upper seed tends to give the crowd a little more vigor and arrogance, but in sports that’s what makes the game fun! Going into Saturday we knew it would be tough games, but that didn’t stop the Tiger fans from cheering until the end.
Fortunately, both Tiger basketball teams are moving on to the NCAA tournament, but unfortunately for fans such as myself, that means they will be playing 482 miles apart. My next stop will be Sioux Falls with the Tiger Debs and Tiger Pep Band to cheer on the men while our awesome Tiger Cheer Squad will be heading to Pittsburgh, Kansas to root for the Lady Tigers.
Near and far, the MIAA tournament and the NCAA tournament brings out the spirit from the FHSU Tigers, and I can’t wait to see where it takes them.