Cheering for history at Bucknell
LEWISBURG - As the Bucknell University men took the court for their last home game of the season on Wednesday night, a trip to the NCAA Tournament hanging in the balance.
It was also the final home game for another group, the Bucknell cheerleaders.
For the past four years Troy graduate Lindsey Bridgham has been a member of the cheerleading team and experiences like Wednesday are what make everything so special.
"It's definitely a really exciting time on campus," Bridgham said before the game. 'It's my senior year and I hope to go to the NCAAs one more time. It's a great experience. I got to go as a sophomore and it's great to be close to the action and get to cheer a game at the NCAA."
One of the things that makes every game harder right now is knowing that things are coming to a close for Bridgham and her cheerleading career.
"It's the last time I will cheer here in a game," Bridgham said. "It's a really exciting time, but I am kind of upset thinking any game could be my last game."
For Bridgham cheerleading has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember, and it's tough to say goodbye to it.
"I have been cheering 16 years," she said. "All the way through pee-wee, middle school and high school. My senior year of high school I knew I was going to come to Bucknell and I got in touch with the coach and tried out and I have cheered since freshman year here.
"It's been a huge part of my life and it's kind of sad that it could be my last time. It's sad, but I'm excited for what the future holds."
While her cheerleading career is coming to a close, Bridgham is also close to graduating with a management degree, and she will be working in New York City as an inside sales consultant.
"I graduate in about two months and I'm really excited for the next chapter," she said.
Having a job already lined up for after graduation is making the last few months in college enjoyable for Bridgham.
"It's really nice," she said. "Really going into second semester to have a job line up it makes things a lot more carefree. But, I enjoy my classes still, I am enjoying my last classes."
While she is excited for the future, Bridgham is hoping that the future doesn't come too soon.
"I hope we get back to the NCAA Tournament," she said. "I really enjoyed cheering during the NCAA Tournament in 2011. We were at the Verizon Center in DC and there were a lot of students who got a chance to go and watch so it was great cheering in front of a lot of supporters. Not many people get to say they were on the floor cheering at the Verizon Center."
Throughout her cheerleading career Bridgham has loved the atmosphere that Bucknell has.
"It's really cool to go to school here," she said. "We all have classes with players. You get to know them pretty well. We have a good relationship with them and know the players on a personal level. It's really cool, it's something you don't get at a lot of bigger schools."
In 2011, like Wednesday, the Bisons played the conference title game at home against the same Lafayette team.
Bridgham still remembers the big crowd, the fans storming the court as Bucknell earned a spot in the Big Dance.
She knows that things were a little different Wednesday, but always loves the atmosphere at the school.
"We will have a big crowd," she said. "Unfortunately we are on Spring Break right now, but a lot of people are coming back for this. The atmosphere here is like no other in the Patriot League."
Because the students are on Spring Break it has meant plenty of chances for the cheerleaders to spend time together as Bucknell played in the conference tournament.
"We all spend a lot of time together as a team," Bridgham said. "Besides the sports teams there really aren't a lot of people on campus. It's been nice, we have done a lot of team bonding
Having the game on national TV was nice exposure for Bucknell on Wednesday.
"A lot of people can't always get to the game so they get to see us on TV," she said. "It's really cool to get that kind of exposure."
While some of her family and friends got a chance to watch her on TV, her parents were there to watch her at the last home game she will cheer at.
"My parents come down to almost every home game," she said. "They will be here and a lot of my friends can watch on TV. It's really cool that they get to come and watch me cheer."
Brian Fees is the sports editor at The Daily & Sunday Review. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (570) 265-1631.