5 over 152
Plug in the four banger, set the board on the chairs, plug in the dx cable, look up at the monitor and see it spiraling out control. “You have three minutes left” - says a name somewhere off in the room. My heart was pounding. My teammates look at me as I become whitewashed with stress. Yes, this is NSAC and this is our A/V rehearsal.
No the lights weren’t working. Who was in charge of setting them up? Oh yeah, me. When we were allowed a mere 15 minutes of A/V rehearsal the lights didn’t work. We went back to the hotel room, set everything up and they worked there. But, why not in the actual room?!
West Texas A&M University’s advertising team Buffalo Advertising was lucky enough to be selected as the wildcard team and make it to nationals with our awe inspiring light showcasing, soccer ball hitting, presentation and I was going to be responsible for making it fail.
We had traveled to Austin as excited as ever, meeting teams and being awestruck as we ran into #buffstahce (The University of Alabama) in the elevator - they were the team we ended up bonding the most with. Our competition was UCLA, College Station, Penn State, Syracuse, and other notable schools - so not exactly for the feint of heart. The first time a team from WT had mad it’s way to the national level for NSAC. We were a quarter horse among thoroughbreds.
I think the big thing for me about this convention and competition was how lucky and honored we felt to even be there. The networking opportunities were amazing. Naturally our competitive nature emerged and we began to wonder “what if.” What if the small wildcard team placed? What if we got first? What if?
When we walked into the presentation room and began our actual set up - the lights worked. Not only did they work, but there was a chandelier right above us that we pointed one at to reflect it tenfold, couldn’t have planned that any better. Our lines were slow for once. I hit my mark for once. We were great.
Our Q/A with the judges was mostly a compliment section with one question that was answered with great response. Holy Moly - those ‘what ifs’ became ‘when will we knows’. When the 1-4th place teams were announced and WT was not on that list (congrats to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for first and our friends at Alabama for second) I literally turned and said “oh that just means we got fifth.”
Little did I know.
West Texas A&M Univ. received 5th in the nation. 5th out of 152 other teams that competed this year. What an incredible feeling that was. We all felt like we had just gotten first. We beat not only one, but BOTH teams that we lost to on the district level. We were proud. We were honored.
I can now leave WT and my last experience as a ‘student’ happy. Happy that NSAC has taught me more than I could ever imagine. More than I thought I would ever know. It stood out on my resume. It helped me get to where I am in my career. So thanks to my team, my coaches, my advisors, and everyone else that was involved because without the support and encouragement we wouldn’t be where we are today.
And as always, “Go Buffs!”