Seventy Rambler fans anxiously loaded into two charter buses this past Friday to make the long trek down to San Antonio for the men’s basketball NCAA Final Four.
Students were loud and excited as the bus pulled away from Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, but the long drive quickly took over. Students watched movies, slept and shared stories as the buses made the 22 hour trek.
Although the team ended its season March 31 with a loss to the University of Michigan, many fans were still happy they came.
Sasha Goman, a junior secondary education and history double major, said she was saddened by the team’s loss and she was confident the team would win. She said the team’s reaction to the loss was caring and it was touching to watch the team support one another.
“I felt horrible because I could see all the players so close,” Goman said. “But I thought it was so super sweet how the seniors went in for them, and it just showed that Loyola team members really have each other’s backs.”
Samantha Cachila, a junior social work major, said she was most excited to watch the game, but she also wanted to take part in the tourist activities such as the Alamo and Riverwalk. She said she followed the team before the tournament and she’s happy she came down despite the loss.
Loyola rented two buses from Windy City Limousine and Bus Worldwide. This charter company is the fastest growing ground transportation service in the United States, according to its website.
There were two hour-long stops along the route. The buses traveled down through Illinois into Missouri and then to Arkansas before hitting Texas. Through Texas the buses ran through Dallas and Austin before finally reaching San Antonio.
Cachila said she liked the bus and hotel deal because it was secure and she didn’t want to make the 22-hour-long drive with three girls in a tightly packed car.
“Having a charter bus is a peace-of-mind,” Cachila said. “I mean it was a long [drive], but it was worth it. It’s beautiful here.”
Goman agreed and said this trip probably wouldn’t have been possible without the charter bus and hotel deal. She said she loved San Antonio and it was one of her best trips.
“I’m so glad Loyola was able to provide us this transportation and this opportunity, because for the price we went I don’t think I could have done that on my own,” Goman said. “[The bus ride was] long … but overall it was nice meeting new people.”
The charter buses and hotel room stays were offered as a package through the Athletics Department and the Department of Student Development. Students stayed about 10 miles from the Alamodome, the arena which held the Final Four game, in the Holiday Inn near San Antonio’s airport.
Students could have chosen between a single double or quad. The packages cost $350, $400 or $500 depending on the which hotel room the students chose.
Cachila and Goman stayed in quads, which was the cheapest option. The buses left Loyola March 30 at 10:30 a.m. and made the journey back at midnight April 3.