Two weeks ago, we were in Hot Springs, Arkansas for our third annual trip. For the last 3 years, and the next few years at least, the Sun Belt Conference basketball tournament has been in Hot Springs. Each year, John, his brother Jimmy, and I join other Mean Green faithfuls for a week of 2-6 basketball games a day.
We took lots of pictures the first year and a few the second. The novelty of the city has worn off though, so the only picture I have to share from this year is a still from the championship game TV broadcast with only 22 seconds left.
North Texas had just secured a 4 point lead. Heartbreaking events followed leading to a 1 point loss by the end, but in this shot, we're quite excited because it looks like we're going to the NCAA tournament for a second year in a row.
Watching the team win last year and lose in the last seconds this year made for two very different emotions. However, last year North Texas was a 2 seed and didn't play a 1 seed until the final game, but this year they were a 4 seed, upsetting 1 and 3 seeds to even get to the Championship game. We were very excited to even be in the Championship game, but that loss still stings.
An interesting note about this year's tournament: Along with North Texas's upsets in round 2 and 3, there were 6 other upsets in the tournament. Only 3 games (2 in the first round and 1 in the second round) actually went according to seeding.
This year was a little different because our friends Matt and Kim came along (they are the two people that John and I are book-ending in the picture). They have season tickets right next to us during the year, but they've not been able to come to the tournament before. I enjoyed getting to do a few more "girly" things this year that I'd not done in the previous 2 years... Like actually go to a Hot Springs bath house. The "hot bath" turned out to be what I'd call a over priced use of a normal whirlpool bathtub, but I'm glad to finally say I've done it, since that's what Hot Springs is famous for.
All in all, it was a good trip despite the loss in the end. I guess we have to lose some years; otherwise, the wins would stop being as fun. - John would probably argue with me on that point.
PS There's a story behind the title of this post. The first year the tournament was in Hot Springs, that was the tournament slogan, and the advertisement for the tournament had the voice over yell/singing "Hot Hoops, In Hot Spriiiinnngggs". The boys I travel with latched on to the somewhat annoying phrase and say it close to 200 times each year while we're there (the first year may have been more like 500).