It could be the pep bands, the gathering of seven high school basketball teams, the media cameras and reporters or the plethora of goodies at the food court. "Tournament time" is like a winter vacation in Sports World.
A special vibe and excitement is in the air for both athletes and fans.
Who you play in your first game depends on the record accumulated during the season and both Lincoln Lynx men and ladies had a difficult draw.
The Lincoln gals came the closest to a win with a close game loss to Victor in round two. After three ladies had fouled out, the Lady Lynx could only put three players on the court vs. five for the Lady Pirates, but they were tough, held their own and didn't get run over.
Lincoln fans were well represented in the bleachers on the opening day and were anxious to brag about their teams.
"They play for the love of the game. It's been fun. They are an up-and-coming team and their sights are set on winning seasons as they get older," said Chuck Dietz, dad of junior high player Roegun Dietz (who was pulled up to aid the varsity)
Julie Riddle, mom of Teegan and Kayden Riddle, added, "This team has a great heart. Playing against all these older, heavier players has made them mentally tough."
Senior Justin Fry, playing the last game of his high school career reflected, "I've always tried to be a role model for the younger players. It's been a fun ride and I'm sorry to see it ending."
"We're not done yet. We're going to grow and keep playing hard, like winners," said experienced coach Shane Brown, who was upbeat. "District tournament is a great experience preparing them for the future, a future that could reasonably see district and divisional wins."
The gals on the Lady Lynx squad had accolades for retiring senior, Jenna Templeton. Makena Copenhaver, the fiesty eighth grade point guard, summed up the team's feeling by adding: "Jenna is the best leader, just what this team needed. Her positive attitude and encouragement kept us going in hard-fought games."
"These amazing girls have an exciting future," replied Jenna.