Having just watched their son Drew drop a career-high 30 points and pull down 13 rebounds and carry top-seeded Gonzaga over Oklahoma and into the Sweet 16, Matt and Megan Timme walked outside of Hinkle Fieldhouse. They were headed home, back to Texas for the week, and wanted to see Drew before they departed. They walked along a circumference of cones set up in the Hinkle parking lot, skirting a wide berth from the bevy of buses parked inside the cones, winding their way to a sidewalk directly in front of the lead Gonzaga bus, joining a collection of fans stationed there. Matt and Megan perched there, underneath a tree, until Drew finally came to the bus. He waved. They waved back, and seconds later the 18 motorcycle police officers revved their engines and moved into formation. While Megan and Matt turned and left, Drew and Gonzaga rolled off in the opposite direction, back to the hotel and back to their bubble.
There will be no helicopter parenting in this NCAA Tournament. Like everything else here, parenthood is socially distanced. After hundreds of carpool rides to games and practices, hours plopped on uncomfortable bleachers and years living the joys and heartache of basketball, moms and dads arrive here, their boys’ NCAA Tournament dreams realized, with no access to their kids for three weeks. They aren’t complaining. They’ve all endured some version of worse, either the cancellation of last year or a regular season relegated to their sofas, and are thrilled to be here, even if from afar. “I’m just so happy we’re playing,’’ Megan Timme said. “And thank God for Steve Jobs. FaceTime saves us.’’
On Monday afternoon, Section 223 of Hinkle Fieldhouse was Gonzaga Mom and Dad Central. Deri and Craig Kispert, parents to Corey, sat on one end of Row 1, the Timmes at the other. A few rows back, Larry Suggs, Jalen’s dad, leaned against a pillar, while Jalen’s mom, Molly Manley, sat in the middle of the third row.