By Jelani Scott
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Getting the chance to represent your university is an opportunity that many members of Hampton Nation get when they step foot off this campus.
That opportunity could come in the form of a conference where there is the chance to show off our intellectual prowess. But there is something about getting the opportunity to attend a sporting event that pits HU against "everybody" [a slogan on Hampton Nation T-shirts] that brings every Pirate together in a way that's unlike any other.
This special bond was again put on display Tuesday, March 24 when students and faculty boarded a bus to travel six-plus hours here to support their Lady Pirates basketball team as they took on the West Virginia University Mountaineers in the second round of the Women's NIT.
With tipoff scheduled at 7 p.m., fans were instructed to meet at the Student Center by 10 a.m. so that they could be checked off and cleared to travel. Conflicts with class schedules managed to keep some Pirates docked on the shore of our "Home by the Sea," but those that were able to maneuver and create some space on their schedule boarded the bus.
It was smooth sailing down I-64 West and I-95 North as all aboard the bus seemed to enjoy their journey. Friendly disputes over which movies would be watched to pass the time or the vocal amazement at the beauty of the mountainous ranges the bus traveled past filled the air and, along with it, came a sense of camaraderie.
Once WVU Coliseum was in view, the anticipation began to build. Once the bus doors parted and fans got their tickets, it took only minutes for everyone to get seated behind the Lady Pirates' bench and cheer them on with our trademark flair.
The game went back and forth and, while WVU pulled away with the win, it was clear at the sound of the final buzzer that every fan in blue and gold or HU blue and white had fun. WVU fans could be seen high fiving HU fans, with one audibly saying, "We had fun with you guys!"
One can only imagine what the response would've been if our cheerleaders and band also made the trip.
I was approached numerous times by WVU fans asking me how long was our trip, where exactly are we located, and fans asked about our men and women's teams. It was nice to see another host site, who, like University of Kentucky on a previous road trip, be pleasant and inviting to an HBCU.
March has been a good month for Hampton U. athletics and for HU in general. I'm glad that I along with my fellow Hamptonians got the chance to travel outside of Hampton Roads and experience these events. Hopefully, we'll be able to do it all over again next school year.
The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.