An estimated one million people will assemble around Times Square on New Year's Eve for a celebration that will be watched worldwide. Nearly 800 people are already hard at work preparing for the merrymaking and party-goers. There are live performances by some of music's biggest names. By the time the ball drops and the confetti falls and the smooching commences, the atmosphere in New York City will already have reached jubilance.
Yet not one person will have as much fun as the VCU RamNation will bring to Brooklyn in middle March for the Atlantic 10 tournament.
You know what happened last year. City busses were wrapped. Al Roker thumped to The Peppas. KBH, Die Koelner Bierhalle, that home-away-from-home, had VCU fans spilling into St. Mark's Place. Spike Lee donned an Ed Nixon jersey. Heads shook side-to-side, locals and toursits alike, at this Roadshow of Revelry. The RamNation turned the Barclays Center into Siegel Center North, and it was a sight to see.
Here's what Matt Brown, national writer for the USAToday sports site Sports on Earth wrote after his interaction with, well, you:
VCU fans dominated the Barclays Center at last weekend's A-10 tournament, drowning out the rest of the league's fans during their own games, and occasionally taking over the arena even when the Rams weren't playing. (At one point, they hijacked a song played by the Butler pep band during the Butler-St. Louis game.)
Their coach, their players, their fans, their pep band - they all appear to be having more fun than everyone else. Watching VCU, especially in person, is the total package of all the things we love about March Madness.
Brooklyn loves VCU, and VCU loves Brooklyn.
So here's my New Year's Challenge to you: start making plans now to be there. Spend some time in the 9:00 hour at your New Year's Eve party whipping up a travel partner. Break out the iPad and research travel routes and hotels. Shoot an email to your boss requesting a couple days off work. It's okay--tell your significant other I gave you permission to crack open the computer in the middle of a party. It's a worthwhile endeavor. You may get a few sideways looks that night, but come March, you will be thanked and praised.
The last thing you want to have happen is to wake up on February 27 and realize you wished you had made these plans. What's worse, you know you will read reports from Brooklyn and curse yourself for not being there. I've been in that position before, and it's an awful feeling. This is your opportunity to learn from my mistakes.
Unsure? Find someone who went last year and ask them about it. But don't listen to their words and stories. Listen to how they talk about it. Look at their eyes. You will see it, the kind of it that's impossible to define, and you will make those plans. You will know. You will feel the glow.
We had more fun this weekend, at a random, holiday, nonconference game than most teams have at their own home games. Trust me when I say you want the full experience when the Atlantic 10 tournament cranks up. The official dates say March 12-16, but it starts now.
Get cracking, this week.