Students watch Bears win championship, from Waco to Indianapolis

Kristen DeHaven | Photo Editor Students line up outside of the Waco Regional Airport the day after the game to welcome the new National Champions back to their home town.

By Jenna Frisby | Social Media Editor

The Baylor Bears men’s basketball made history by winning the first national title for the team, not to mention making it to the Final Four for the first time in 71 years. Students were cheering on the team all across the country, whether in-person at Lucas Oil Stadium or at home here in Waco. No matter the place, students found a way to show their school spirit and proudly watch the Bears march to victory.

The university provided students with several fun ways to view the championship. A select number of students won tickets through a lottery system to the Final Four matchup Saturday, April 3, when the Bears defeated Houston. Since Baylor won, those students were also able to stay through Monday night to see the Bears win the championship in person. Each student who won tickets was able to select a buddy to accompany them on the trip.

One of the students on the Indianapolis trip was Sioux Falls, S.D. senior Maham Shah. She experienced Baylor’s performance live in the Final Four and the National Title game.

“Having the opportunity to witness Baylor making history was the best way of ending my senior year,” Shah said. “Cheering in the stands and watching our boys drain threes was so surreal. Being able to chant with parents and alumni really felt like the Lucas Oil stadium was the Baylor Bears stadium.”

Baylor also hosted a watch party at McLane Stadium for those unable to make the trip to Indianapolis. Buckeye, Ariz. senior Baylee Dougherty was in attendance at the McLane watch party and attested to the energetic environment.

“Watching the game from McLane was incredible. Being surrounded by students on the field and fans in the stand brought so much energy to the crowd,” Dougherty said. “Everyone screaming at every point, doing cheers, jumping and celebrating when we won made every second of the game exciting…As a senior, it was a moment I will forever cherish.”

Since Lucas Oil stadium could not hold the same capacity it could prior to COVID-19, Baylor found alternative ways to help students have a memorable game day experience despite the circumstances.

“I’m really grateful that the university found a safe way for us to cheer on the Bears in such an electrifying environment,” Dougherty said.

Students also hosted watch parties at their homes for a more intimate viewing experience. San Antonio senior Caroline Talley said she watched the game with her roommates, who have all been closely following the basketball team’s journey to the championship.

“We’ve all gotten really into basketball this season and we’ve watched almost every single game all together. It’s been really fun to see the energy of the guys and just to see how hard they are working,” Talley said.

Talley also said her and her roommates have a special ritual of watching the basketball games on their living room couch. They also made the viewing experience more enjoyable by making a charcuterie board to snack on during the game.

Perhaps the most rewarding part of the night was witnessing Baylor take down the Gonzaga Bulldogs when it mattered most. Talley said her most memorable part of the night was watching Baylor’s hard work pay off, even during a COVID-ridden season.

“They really earned that championship and they earned everything they got this year,” Talley said. “We are really proud of them, and it’s awesome to beat what everyone was calling the best team in the country. But we took them down and it was awesome.”