Road Trip Saturday Number 5 Assembly Hall Indiana Hoosiers 11-12-17
There are a handful of arenas that are considered so iconic that they find themselves at the top of the lists of fans for places they want to see a game. Many fans spend years, or sometimes even their entire lives trying to get to these arenas. That is why I feel very blessed that I was able to go to one of these at age 19. Opening weekend I drove down to the University of Indiana at Bloomington to go to a game at Assembly Hall. This game was pretty cool for me because on December 19th 2009 I saw my first college basketball game at Reitz arena when Loyola MD hosted Howard. Two days later Loyola went into Assembly Hall and came out with a win shocking the Hoosiers. Flash back to this year. Opening night I was at Northwestern when Loyola almost knocked them off, and then two days after that I get to go to Assembly Hall to see one of the teams from my first college basketball game. This was pretty special for me because it felt like a moment that had come full circle.
Sunday afternoon I started my pilgrimage down to Bloomington. It took me a while to get there between the 200-mile journey, losing an hour on the time change, inclement weather, traffic, and traveling on streets that were small enough they could basically be driveways in the dark between Indianapolis and Bloomington. The only complaint I had about my entire experience is the Hoosiers do not know how to park cars. They basically shut down the section of town near campus and send people in a big one-way circle, but do not have any signs or tell anyone this is what they do. They do not tell visitors without passes where to park, and expect everyone to know this even though they know they are the type of place that will get many out of towners because it is a bucket list venue. This was a small detail of the night though. Once I got there I met my friend Koty who was joining me for the game.
We entered Assembly Hall, and took our time walking through the hallways soaking it all in. We made our way up to our seats in section FF which was way up in the upper corner of the building. The view however was not bad, as the building was designed so that there is not a bad seat in the house. I actually watched the game on the court instead of on the jumbo Tron which is not something I can say about other large arenas I have been to such as State Farm Center and Mackey Arena, and in both of those ones I as in the last row in the building which was about 15 rows further back from where I was at this one equivalent wise. The game was surprisingly close for it being Howard (a bad MEAC team) vs. a Big Ten team. Indiana only ended up winning by 9, and could not make a free throw all game. During halftime we got up and walked around to check out the building because as much as I would like to come back frequently to this venue I don’t know how many times that will be possible in my three remaining years as a student at Valparaiso. Unfortunately, if I’m being honest I’ll probably only be back once or at most twice, and there’s a chance I might not get back at all, so I wanted to soak in the full experience while I was there. We went into the Hoosier store, and I looked at a pair of the infamous candy cane striped pants. We also strolled around the concourse looking at pictures of the Indiana teams from years past. We were able to even get a peak from the balcony opposite to the national championship banners (because we couldn’t see them from our seats), and lastly we got a picture of the center court logo. We enjoyed the rest of the game, and I just kept saying “wow this is so cool, I can’t believe I am actually here right now”. In closing, if you ever have the chance to go to a game at Indiana’s Assembly Hall jump on it because it really is a magical place to see a college basketball game.