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Yale’s pep band had to miss the NCAA tournament. University of Idaho said, ‘We got you.’

Yale University and the University of Idaho could not be more different. Ivy League vs. state school. East Coast vs. Pacific Northwest. City vs. farm town. But in the first two rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament, extenuating circumstances brought them together as one, with the Bulldogs and the Vandals becoming the “Vandogs” for a weekend.

When Yale made it to the March Madness tournament, members of the school’s pep band had already committed to other travel plans during spring break. They couldn’t gather enough members to make the trek across the country to Spokane, Washington, so the Yale Bulldogs were left without their fight song unless other arrangements could be made.

When University of Idaho athletic band director Spencer Martin got wind of the need less than a week before Yale’s game against Auburn, he sent out a message to his band members asking if anyone would be interested in stepping in. The response was a wave of immediate yeses, so Martin got to work arranging instruments and the students dedicated themselves to learning Yale’s fight song and other traditional Yale pep songs.

Idaho band members even reached out to Yale band members via social media to get tips and asked the spirit squad for suggestions for making their “Vandogs” performance the best it could be. Yale also sent spirit gear with the big yellow Y for Yale for them to wear.

“Everyone was really enthusiastic about covering for the Yale students who couldn’t make it,” Martin told the Yale Daily News. “Universities help universities, and bands help bands.”

That genuine act of sportsmanship and camaraderie touched people across the nation, much to the delight of the students.

“’Look Mom, I’m on ESPN,’” Martin told The Spokesman-Review, quoting his students. “You’re a farm kid in the middle of a farm town. How often do you get that? Never.”

And people loved seeing it as well.

Kudos to the University of Idaho band! Band kids are the greatest!” wrote one commenter.

“Awesome job Idaho..this is a perfect example of true sportsmanship!!” shared another.

“This is such a great show of collegiate athletics and why they are important! Well done!” shared another.

It’s hard not to catch the energy of the tournament, as the Vandogs found out.

“It was awesome watching them play,” Idaho grad student Cody Barrick, who plays the tenor saxophone, told ESPN. “We were right on our feet with everyone else at the end there cheering them on for sure.”

And as it turned out, the pep in Yale’s step did seem to be extra “on” during that first game. The Bulldogs went into the tournament as an underdog, with #4 Auburn being their first competitor, but they pulled off a dramatic upset that moved them to the next round.

So not only did Idaho’s band play for them that first Friday game, but they also drove the 90 miles to Spokane again the following Sunday night for Yale’s second round game against San Diego State.

The Bulldogs were eliminated from the tournament in that game, but memories were made for life. And Martin says the Vandals would do it anytime, for any school, a testament to the program.

“If you choose the Vandal band, you know that it’s going to come through,” he told the Spokesman-Review. “It always has. That’s the tradition. There was no doubt that we would come through for them.”

Source: Upworthy
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