'Most fun I've had in my life': Sister Jean says as Loyola heads to Final Four

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Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt spoke at a press conference Friday morning while Loyola students boarded a bus for nearly 20-hour drive to San Antonio, Texas. (WLS)

Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt spoke at a press conference Friday morning while Loyola students boarded a bus for nearly 20-hour drive to San Antonio, Texas.

Loyola's Sister Jean is spending Good Friday getting ready to cheer on the Ramblers in the Final Four.

She's already in San Antonio where she took questions at a press conference Friday morning. It was a tournament first-- a special press conference just for 98-year-old Sister Jean with approximately 150 media members packed into a small room.

"As I got nervous when all this was happening I said to myself, 'Well, I tell other people, it's magical and so just go and do it.' And it's big thrill for me to be here this morning with all of you and you know what? I'm not a bit nervous," Sister Jean said. "This is the most fun I've had in my life, it is. It's just so much fun for me to be here and I've fought hard enough to do that. Because I wanted to be with the guys."

"She's an icon now. She's more famous than us. We walk through the hotel and they stop Sister Jean, they don't stop us anymore." said Loyola player Marques Townes.

"She's everything that's good about our university. She's been such a great ambassador for Loyola and just showing how special she is to our team as well as the community," said Loyola player Ben Richardson.

WATCH THE PRESS CONFERENCE WITH SISTER JEAN
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Loyola's Sister Jean speaks at the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.



Many asked about her prayers before the Ramblers' games.

"I like to pray for both teams so that especially the fans who might hear me know I'm partly on one side, but only partly, because at the end of the prayer I always ask God to be sure that the scoreboard indicates that the Ramblers have the big W," said Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt.

Sister Jean said it will be a challenge to observe the Christian holidays but the team attended Good Friday services in the afternoon.

They also plan to attend a university mass together on Easter Sunday -- when she is confident they will still be in San Antonio.

RAMBLER FAN FAMILY HEADS TO SAN ANTONIO FOR FINAL FOUR
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An entire family is on their way to watch the Loyola Ramblers in the NCAA Final Four.



An entire family is on their way to watch the Loyola Ramblers in the NCAA Final Four.

The Germinos made it a family affair at Midway International Airport.

Tom Germino met his wife at Loyola. One of their sons met his wife there too. It's a Germino generational thing.

"So to have this happen and make the Final Four, it's just mind boggling," Tom Germino said.

Well, almost a generational thing. Greg is the black sheep of the family, but a huge Rambler fan.

"I went to their Jesuit college, Marquette," Greg said. "Kinda liken it to, I'm a big Cubs fan and my family isn't. They kind of bought into that two years ago."

Greg's brother married a Rambler, too.

"We ended up getting married at Loyola. Had the reception at Loyola and lived down the street for a couple years as well," Matt saiGermino said.

"It's amazing how the rest of the city is all behind Loyola, even if they went there or they did not," said Paulina Germino.

By air or by bus, fans are traveling to San Antonio by the thousands.

And former Loyola Rambler and number one NBA draft pick La Rue Martin sees success, but it might not be where you think.

"And their GPAs aren't bad either on this team, so that goes to show there's life after sports. And maybe some of them may make, some of them may not make it. But they have a plan," Martin said.

MAYOR EMANUEL MAKES FRIENDLY WAGER WITH ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN, MAYOR

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is hoping to cash-in a couple more times on bets involving Loyola. Sandwiches are on the line Saturday.



If Loyola wins, Ann Arbor, Michigan Mayor Christopher Taylor will send over a reuben sandwich from Zingerman's Deli and make a donation to Chicago's Becoming a Man Mentoring program.
If Michigan wins, Mayor Emanuel will send corned beef and pastrami from Manny's Deli along with a donation to the Jim Toy Community Center in Ann Arbor.

LOYOLA STUDENTS HEADED TO SAN ANTONIO FOR GAME

Loyola University Chicago students embarked on the journey of a lifetime Friday.

They are making the bus trip to San Antonio, Texas to cheer on their Ramblers when they face the University of Michigan in the NCAA's Final Four.

"We had original plans to drive down ourselves, then we heard about this, so we couldn't pass this up," said Loyola sophomore Patrick Reiley.

Among the group are four friends ready to share the memory together.

"I'm from Chicago as well, so this means a lot of to me. We have basketball players on our basketball team from Chicago representing different schools. It's just a lot of excitement, even here. I didn't come here thinking we were going to be that kind of school, and we are. And all this excitement, it's just amazing," said Loyola sophomore David Melecio.

The students converged on the far north side campus Friday morning loaded down with not only with their luggage, but their expectations of victory.

Jake Boling's mother graduated from Loyola.

"I didn't go to Loyola because it's a sports school, I went because of education. The fact that this is happening it's like the stars are realigning. It's perfect," said Boling, a Loyola sophomore.

The friends are joined by roughly 80 other students who were lucky enough to sign up for the trip. It cost each student $350 and covers round trip travel, hotel stay, and transportation to and from the game.
A few of the school's administrators came up with the last minute trip idea.

"We're staying until after the championship game on Monday night, so we will drive through the night after the championship game," said Ray Tennison, the Associate Director of Residence Life at Loyola.

Sign on the Kennedy Expressway cheering on the Loyola Ramblers in the Final Four



Two buses will make the nearly 20-hour trek, traveling close to 1,300 miles one way to the Alamodome for Saturday's matchup.

The last time Loyola went to the Final Four was in 1963 when they won their first championship.

While these diehard Ramblers fans aren't old enough to remember that, most say nothing's going to stop them from enjoying the moment.

"Even if we lose, it is still going to be a great time for our school," said Loyola student Scot Strigenz.

The students say there's no doubt the bus ride will be daunting, but it will be well worth it, especially if they come back champions.

Loyola Coach Porter Moser also posted an emotional tweet Friday morning of his parents' gravesite in Naperville with a Final Four and a Loyola sign in front.



The Loyola Ramblers play Michigan Saturday at 5 p.m.
Related Topics:
sportsLoyola RamblersNCAAcollege basketballmarch madnessfinal fourbasketballRogers ParkChicagoTexas
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