The University of Dayton has hosted the beginning of March Madness for 17 years, providing years of family-bonding experiences. Although tickets to the NCAA First Four games can be hard to snag, open practices at the University of Dayton Arena never cease to draw a crowd.
UD Arena makes open practices and parking free for attendees, plus passes out T-shirts and vendor coupons to help feed growing fans.
Gretchen Rohrer and her son, Ty, were at Monday’s open practice, which was the perfect opportunity for mother-son bonding.
“My husband and I came to the open practices when we first met,” Rohrer said. “And now I have my son with me.”
Rohrer drove from Troy, Ohio, with her son as a surprise. Ty was smiling ear-to-ear waiting to watch one of his favorite players practice — UCLA’s Aaron Holiday.
For others, open practice is a complete family affair.
Richie Peterson was recently stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Fairborn, Ohio, and came to the game with his wife, Brinkley. They had wanted to see what “the hype” was about after hearing about the #FirstFour at UD Arena from locals. Their three basketball-playing kids, two wearing their new March Madness T-shirts, watched attentively from the UD-blue bleachers.
For these families, the First Four opening events were memorable and will continue to be for many other families during the next two days for the start of the championship basketball games.