By Maddy Lockwood, Assistant Features Editor
Last Monday, March 6, 28 C-Block members headed to Atlantic City, New Jersey along with Canisius’s dance team, cheer team and pep band. These spirit squads tagged along with both the men’s and women’s basketball teams to support them in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) basketball tournament.
Members of C-Block left the Koessler Athletic Center at 4 p.m. on Monday, sharing a bus with the Dance Griffs. After an eight-and-a-half-hour–long bus ride, we arrived in Atlantic City ready for an early morning and long day of cheering on the Griffs.
We carried bags filled to the brim in hopes that we would stay the whole week and go to multiple games. This trip was a play-to-stay tournament, meaning that to stay in Atlantic City, either of the Griff teams needed to win at least one game for us to stay another day. All members of the trip were instructed to pack enough clothes and items for a full week in the event that the Griffs would win multiple games, taking us to the championship that would be played the following Saturday night.
Tuesday morning arrived, and we collectively headed out onto the famous New Jersey Jim Whelan Boardwalk, home of the MAAC tournament. The women started their day off at 10:30 a.m. C-Block was given tickets that placed us on the floor in a grandstand directly adjacent to the Griffs’ bench. We filled the stands with waves of blue and gold.
The women tipped off against Mount St. Mary’s and eventually fell to a score of 54–41. After that, small groups of people branched off to explore during the four-hour break before the men’s game. The realization that this may be our only day in Atlantic City set in quickly, and many — including myself — were determined to make the most of their time.
In the off season, the boardwalk is significantly less full of people and crowds, and there were still plenty of sights to see. A handful of small 99-cent stores were open, as well as an assortment of restaurants, casinos and multiple weapons stores (with unsecured weapons). Of course, we ventured in. We found ourselves on the beach twice in full socks and sneakers: others even found themselves in the water despite the breezy, 45-degree day. After accumulating 20,000 steps, it was reconvening time.
The men tipped off just past 6 p.m. and started on a hot streak; at the end of the first half, they led Mount St. Mary’s by more than 10 points. The Griff fan section was electric and one of the best fan environments I have ever been part of. Although we had a smaller number of people than normal, those we brought just happened to bleed blue and gold. We were able to see that in their energy and spirit throughout the game, even when the men lost the 12-point lead they once held.
Unfortunately, after many leads and deficits the Griffs lost in a heartbreaking overtime with a final score of 67–66. After the game, there were many emotional seniors and graduate students as they completed their final game in the blue and gold. The men’s loss ensured that C-Block’s trip would be coming to a screeching halt the next morning, and we would be headed back to Buffalo at 10 a.m., leaving the pep band, cheer and dance teams behind to complete their own showcases. In total, C-Block spent 16 hours traveling to and from Atlantic City and a mere 33 hours in the city itself.
This may have been a short trip, but it was a good trip, nonetheless. Canisius has traditionally been the only school in the MAAC that sends a student section, and the tradition plans to carry on for years to come.