I can’t put my finger on it, but there may or may not be something about having a casino near campus that led me to acquire spontaneous plane tickets to Los Angeles last week. And while I was there visiting USC, a few Marquette friends reminded me that I wouldn’t be using my student ticket to the Saturday basketball game in the way Wisconsinites do best: badgering me for it.
I’m glad they did.
While I was forwarding my ticket, I noticed the game was on National Marquette Day. There was no way I was going to miss out on that — even from California.
National Marquette Day is prime for official game-viewing parties, fan gatherings organized by alums for other Golden Eagles (or Warriors for many) to get together and watch the game. They happen for various games during the season, but this day is the biggest. In no time at all, I registered for the closest viewing party, in Pasadena.
So I was 2,300 miles away from Milwaukee, and I found a group of 40 Marquette alumni to join in cheering our team to victory. There’s nothing like this experience.
It’s comforting to be so far away and have commonality with that many people. Still, I guess it wasn’t all the same for me, since I’m (probably) the only person who attended a viewing party and answered the “What year did you graduate?” question, with, “I’m a senior.”
So I was an observer, or a time traveler, if you will. And we were a convocation of Golden Eagles.
Little by little we nestled into the venue, which I’ll equate to the Bar Louie downtown but bigger. We immediately took over the standing section of the bar, as well as the walking section of the employees.
And apparently this place had no idea we were coming. Oops.
Nevertheless, there we were: clamoring around with name tag introductions, ironic ‘Be The Difference’ references and, of course, three-goggles.
I have to pause for a moment to point out that this is not like a high school reunion.
My buddy’s dad says those reunions are steeped with people who haven’t gotten over the idea that they aren’t in high school anymore. There are petty competitions and repetitions of social status. Refer to the most recent episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” for further information.
As for the people who can’t get over college, they’re the ones who take multiple victory laps and find ways to fail their last requirement just to stick around. Professors who pass them anyway do the world a favor.
Let me tell you how different National Marquette Day is, because it’s surely not like that nonsense. Instead, it’s a wonderful way to discover a huge smile on your face just because someone is wearing the same color shirt as you.
If you’ve ever been to an away game when the majority of fans aren’t favoring Marquette, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say there’s this phenomenological moment when you make eye contact with another Marquette supporter so you both start grinning and raise your fists as if to say, “Marquette power.”
That’s what this day is like, but on steroids. It goes beyond merely being passersby because we are engaged in a union, not a reunion.
The game started, and we got to watching. It was standard protocol for the boys in yellow: trail by double digits immediately, then crawl back and make it a game. Meanwhile, there was so much networking, camaraderie and pride going on within our group that we effectively forgot the game was on.
Since I did zero research, I’m going out on a limb when I say not many universities conduct national days like Marquette. I don’t need research to say they wouldn’t be able to compete with it anyway.
I’m not here to get all sappy and suggest we make every day National Marquette Day. It’s not like Mother’s Day.
But it is pretty awesome how being a Marquette student means more than being a Marquette student.