Next stop on the March Madness tour: Houston, Texas.
But it wasn't a guaranteed trip for me. When we got back from Rhode Island, I contacted the Athletics Department and asked if I'd be going to to Houston. I was told, "at this time, we're not going to be able to take you." I was shocked. I was sure I was going. This was Sunday evening, less than 24 hours after getting back from the first trip, I was not going to be joining the second portion. Neat.
I had to go for broke. I had to show them that I was worth taking.
That evening I uploaded all the footage from the return home the night before and spent a few hours editing it together, posting it to YouTube and passing the word around Facebook. It spread like wildfire and a few days later had about 7,000 views.
It got passed around online. KNBR talked about during an interview with Mickey McConnell. It was featured on a Yahoo Sports Blog. Awesome!
On Tuesday, I got a call from the Athletics Dept again. They had room for me on the trip. I was going.
Now, I don't know if the popularity of that video was the reason, but I don't doubt that it helped.
Regardless, we left early Wednesday morning, before 7 am. There were live vans from all the local news stations, grabbing shots and interviews at our send-off.
A long, four-hour flight later we were in Houston. Just as in Providence, the team had a practice that night. It was at Rice University, and I was invited.
I wanted to make this video different from the other one. Something needed to change. I couldn't interview anyone. So, in my mind, it had to visually look different. I wasn't sure how to do it, but I figured I'd try shooting in slow motion.
Instead of shooting 30 frames each second, I'd shoot 60 and extend it out. Everything looked like it was happening twice as slow as it normally would.
That night, I got back to the hotel and loved the footage. I cut it together and was trying to find the right soundtrack. Only one band seemed right: Explosions in the Sky. They're play what's called post-rock. Explosions form Sky is an instrumental band, coincidentally from Texas.
I spent a good portion of the night hanging with some of the band members and cheer leaders. While they talked and laughed and had fun, I was glued to the computer, timing each shot, perfecting each edit, and waiting for YouTube to upload the video.
Finally, at 3AM, it was up.
To this day it's still one of my favorite videos. Some of my friends on the cheer team agree. They call it: "The Video That Makes Me Cry."
Again, I posted it to Facebook and it spread like wildfire. The next day it was posted to a blog on the ESPN Website. Thanks, Diamond.