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My favorite team has lost and my brackets are busted (I think they were busted from the beginning). Although there are some games left to play, for me basketball season is over. To me and to many in Dayton the basketball season is a way of life, now that it’s over I have a case of March Sadness.

My daughter attends Wright State University and she roots for the Raiders, but when it comes to basketball her heart belongs to the Dayton Flyers. This did not happen by accident. My wife and I have been taking her to Dayton Flyers games since she was a toddler. She grew up wearing UD sweatshirts and red and blue ribbons in her hair.  We encouraged her to love the Flyers and she did! Flyer basketball has been a tradition in our family for many years. My wife’s grandfather donated thousands of dollars to the University so that Dayton Arena could be built. For years his name was riveted to his seat in the lower arena.  My wife’s Grandparents and Parents took her to UD games since she was a little girl.  My parents took me to games as a boy and watched me dance in the aisles when the Flyers were winning big back in the 1960’s. This is amazing to me…because I don’t know how to dance.

During basketball season, the University of Dayton Arena is the place to be for us and many others in this area. These days the Flyers are competitive and fun to watch, they just made their fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, they have a great coach and they play the game hard. They make Dayton proud. The fans love them, the community loves them and my family loves them.

We go to many games and when I’m at the games I notice the same thing over and over. I see families experiencing tradition, excitement and togetherness. I see Dad’s high fiving daughters and Mom’s hugging sons when a great play is made. I see collective family grins when the Flyers are winning and collective groans when they are losing. I have seen Grandfathers, Fathers, Sons and Grandsons sitting side by side at a game and they are all sharing fond memories.

Basketball is a big deal in Dayton and it’s a big deal because it’s about family and community. When a Dayton Flyers game is going on everybody in the community comes together. For a few hours we all forget our differences and just enjoy the moment. Everyone cheers for one thing -a Dayton Flyers victory and everyone is family!

Before the game, the anticipation builds. The band plays the fight song. Rudy Flyer, the mascot, makes kids smile and we all cheer loudly when the Flyers come out of the tunnel as the announcer says “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble”. Young parents put jerseys and cheerleader outfits on their youngsters and the older parents smile as we recall the days when our child was dressed the same way. Baby’s hold pompoms and Dad’s try to hold their tempers. Teenagers wear red and blue face paint and Grandmas wear big grins. The students have an excuse to wear crazy outfits and folks like me have an excuse to wear a red sweater vest!

We all yell and scream! My wife and daughter like to remind me that some of us scream louder than others….I can’t help it if the players and coach need my advice.

My wife, Daughter and I can’t agree on what TV show to watch, but we can agree that when a ref makes a bad call against the Flyers they should be booed. During a timeout, when the band gets the team pumped up we all know that at Flyers games you spell Dayton D-A-Y-T-O-O-O-O-N!

The season is over and thankfully March Sadness is only temporary. A new season begins next November. I encourage you to take part in it. Dayton Flyers basketball has turned our community into one big family and brought us fond memories. That’s what life is all about Family & Memories.

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