Students celebrate Bears basketball success with watch parties

For many students, hosting a watch party with close friends is a way to watch the No.1 seed Bears head into the Sweet Sixteen. Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer

By Mallory Harris | Staff Writer

It’s a well-known fact that in the past year, many events have been canceled, such as birthday parties, graduation ceremonies and even hanging out with friends in a park. Arguably, one of the biggest events lost during the pandemic was March Madness in 2020. However, with meticulous guidelines and strict testing, this year’s tournament is underway with tons of upsets and highlight reels. Watch parties are a great way to cheer on student athletes and get excited about something new.

After both of Baylor’s basketball teams were tripped up by COVID-19, their fight to become the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in their respective brackets earned lots of celebration. With the Lady Bears defending their champion title, they’ve moved into the Sweet Sixteen with high expectations.

As there are many ways to watch the games, students say hosting a watch party can be a fun and safe way to get involved.

Cedar Park senior Kristen Lerma said she thinks food is the best part of any watch party. She said finger foods are her favorite. Whether it’s the classic cheese dip, chips and salsa combination or cocktail weenies, she said food is a must-have for any successful watch party.

“No one wants to hold a plate with a full course meal while jumping up and down and cheering,” Lerma said.

When planning a watch party while still being COVID-19 cautious, Lerma said asking guests to wear masks, hosting an event outside or on Zoom are good ways to still cheer on the basketball teams.

Austin senior Marla Raiford said her favorite part of watch parties are hanging out with people there and bonding with a group.

“I think what makes a great watch party is having your friends over that are big basketball fans and everyone getting really into the game cheering on the bears,” Raiford said.

Lerma and Raiford said there are a few other ways to ensure watch parties are extra festive. For March Madness specifically, Raiford said filling out your own bracket and competing against friends adds another layer of fun to the experience. Lerma suggested having games like cornhole set up in the yard or other games indoors are a good way to make sure the party is never dulled by a commercial break. She said this can even be done virtually.

“I know some families and friend groups that do Zoom parties and they even play online games like Scattergories during commercial breaks,” Lerma said. “Just to keep it interesting.”

Students like Lerma and Raiford are making March Madness count by hosting watch parties.