As I put on my Owls gear, grabbed my camera, and pulled on my coat, it started sinking in. Sure, Temple Athletics is letting me keep my season tickets for next semester even though I won’t be a student. (And seriously, thank you, Denise and Scott. You guys are the best!) But this, this was really it. This was my last game at the Liacouras Center as a student. This was going to be a hard goodbye.
I met up with my Owl Ambassadors (Tirzah, Rend, Kevin, Joe, Tom, and Gemma) and then my friends (Rachel, Jeff, and Jorge) and together, we took up nearly a whole row, cheering on our Owls. Sure, it was Towson, and a loss was the least-imaginable outcome, but it didn’t matter. The game was a blast, the Owls won, and I don’t think we stopped laughing or screaming the entire game. I couldn’t have spent the game with better people. We celebrated the Liacouras Center’s 15th anniversary as home of the basketball team. So we wore shirts with “15” on the back and counted all the great memories and great men and women to touch that maple.
After the game, I went down to the barrier to do the same thing I’ve done every game for the past three years. I high-fived all the players, saying “good game” to each like we did in high school. Temple basketball’s this strange thing. This guy went to Chester, this guy went to Norristown, this guy went to Pennsbury, this guy went to PW. I’ve watched all of these guys, I’ve played all these guys since we were all in high school, I’ve grown up with these guys. And this was it. This was the last time we’d all be students on the same court.
And as we sang “I Believe” one last time before winter break, I knew it wasn’t the last time I’d sing those words. Because I’ll be that crazy alum in the last row of the second deck, standing and screaming the words as if I were sitting right back down in Wild Cherry. Once an Owl, always an Owl.