Day #9: The final showdown

I made it.

The 9th and final game of my college basketball road trip: St. John’s vs. Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden. Not the sexiest of matchups given the Red Storm’s struggling conference record, but Seton Hall’s possible return to the NCAA tournament storyline was interesting enough.

Plus, I hadn’t seen Coach Mullin since our standing game of H.O.R.S.E. at the Clubsport in San Ramon.

I arrived at JKF around midnight after getting the very last seat on the very last flight out of Charlotte. I hopped in an Uberpool and headed straight for my sister’s dorm in Manhattan – she is a law school student at Fordham and was putting me up for the next few nights. I never get to see her due to her demanding academic schedule so I was excited to spend the next 24-hours with her.

We chatted a bit before calling it a night – tomorrow morning would come early enough and I needed all the sleep I could get.

Sunday arrived and I was both excited and slightly sad; I had made it to the final game of my road trip, which made me incredibly proud and happy but I was also bummed that this journey was coming to an end.

I arrived at Madison Square Garden about an hour before game time, wanting to explore the arena a bit being that it was my first time there.

It did not disappoint.

The court was normal but the seating was massive and the ceiling added an aesthetically pleasing bonus to the whole experience.

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The game started out innocent enough, with Seton Hall jumping out to a sizable lead. What coach Mullin said to his St. John’s squad worked like gangbusters though as the Red Storm came out swinging and went on a 8-0 run to start the second half.

The full story about the game and subsequent events afterword can be found in my write up on The Sports Fan Journal.

Lets just say that I happened to be in the right place at the right time and was ably to catch a fight that broke out on the court after the handshake line. The origin of the fight is still unclear but the video made quite the rounds on the Internet.

I don’t know what it was about the games I picked, but they all ended up being exciting ones.

After the basketball game, I stuck around for a bit to watch the New York Rangers play the Detroit Red Wings in classic hockey matchup.

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All in all, a pretty solid day of sports. I capped the night off with dinner with my baby sister before catching my last early- morning flight for a while.

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When I returned home, I face-planted on my bed for the next 20 hours. After waking up finally feeling like myself, I slowly went through my work bag, unpacking the various press passes, final game books and other items I had collected on my journey.

People keep asking me how it feels to finally be home, and honestly there is no straightforward answer to that question. I feel a lot of things: exhausted, happy, sad, worldly, confident, resourceful and eager to take everything I experienced and learned and turn it into something meaningful.

The people I met, the games I witnessed, the cities I visited and the difficulties I endured all deserve words that feel beyond my grasp right now. So I’m going to let the dust settle and begin a new journey recounting it all for myself, because I conquered something I was slightly afraid my kill me, for my friends because of the constant support and love they give me and for my family, because they have yet to give up on my crazy dreams.

So the story isn’t finished just because the journey is over.

See you on the other side.

#EVBFullCourtPress

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