Three words: What a season!

Emotional ups and downs the entire way, especially when it came down to the final two games during the NCAA tournament. Let’s back up just for a few seconds to talk about my trek to Cleveland, Ohio. I woke up Thursday at 7 a.m. and begin the drive with my roommates Stephen and Mark.

With a few stops for gas, food and restrooms we made it to our hotel around 1:30 p.m. Apparently the three of us were the only people in the city who forgot about St. Patrick’s Day because the streets were absolutely packed.

By the end of the day we saw nearly a dozen rowdy paddy patrons get arrested for their behavior. Anyway, we got into our room just in time to see Old Dominion get knocked off by Butler, on a last-second, right-place-at-the-right-time put back.

Considering I had ODU taking out Pitt, that game didn’t make my bracket look so hot. After the game we just took it easy, got some pool time in, and watched the 1st day of the best 3 weeks of the year in sports.

Day 2 was gameday. After a quick early breakfast we put our game day gear on complete with flair — mine includes headband, right arm sleeve, left arm band and 5 sets of beads.

We headed to the Clevelander, which was the official Mason Nation headquarters for the weekend. There was a pregame party there to get everyone hyped for the game against Villanova. Once fans were allowed in, we headed over to Quicken Loans Arena, commonly referred to as “the Q”.

Our student section’s seats for this game were in the upper deck right behind the Mason bench. The game got underway, and if you were anywhere in the arena you could definitely hear all of our standard chants clearly. There couldn’t have been a closer game, however, I think we all know how it ended.

As Gus Johnson called it, “HANCOCK…AHHH!” I still find it hard to put into words the feelings I had once Luke hit that shot, as well as when Mike Morrison slammed the final one home.

There was a lot of jumping, a ton of screaming, and everyone was hugging anyone that they could see wearing green and gold. It’s going to be tough to ever match that kind of sports emotion for a team I care so much about ever again.

Right after the game I called my sister, who graduated from Mason in 1999 and attended the 2006 tourney games here in D.C. Before I could even say hello, she answered with “That IS the Final Four feeling.”

Granted that us making it into the Final Four by beating UCONN probably enhanced he feeling tenfold, but believe me, I got the idea loud and clear.

We must have watched the replay of the final 30 seconds of basketball time — real time about 6 minutes — about 10 more times throughout that night. That game is one of those moments in someone’s life where you will never forget where you were and what you were doing when that happened. It’s easy to say, the absolute best sports moment of my life so far.

On our off day I headed over to Canton to check out the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A great and funny finish to my visit was that I noticed an Albert Haynesworth Redskins jersey marked down from $80 to $20 on the clearance rack. They can’t even give those away right now.

The next day was the OSU game. Not much to talk about other than we lost to a perfect team playing a perfect game. They are the best team in the country this season and certainly played the part against us.

After seeing them live, no surprise they are the favorite to win it all. It was a tough way to finish out an incredibly fun and eventful season. We headed home right from the game and got back to our house around 2 a.m.

All we could think about on the ride home was not the tough loss, but the enjoyment and excitement that this season brought us.

So, beloved Section 124 readers, we’ll see you next season for the Mason Madness. GMU, WHHAATT!?