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EAGLE ABROAD: Uncasville, CT

AE’s best intern is on the road with Marquette as the postseason starts with the 2023 Women’s Big East Tournament.

Mohegan Sun Arena during the starting lineups of Marquette vs St Johns (03.04.23)
Anonymous Eagle

Hello, there!

If you frequently peruse Anonymous Eagle, you’ve probably seen my name on the bylines of the most recent FanPosts! Certain affiliations I have with certain university programs have blessed me with the privilege to travel with the basketball teams during the March tournaments- so I bring you, for (what I believe is) the first time ever...


Or, if you prefer, “travel journal that I just needed a catchy name for.”


OW, MY EARS (03.01.23)

First thing I will say- airplanes are very odd. For large quantities of money, we can stick ourselves in pressurized tubes that will careen themselves across the skies to other parts of the world in relatively short amounts of time. Science is fun. Related: I’ve been a bit congested the past couple days, and I had a clear nose the entire time I was up in the air. Best hour and a half of my life.


I flew charter, which was a 7/10 experience. It loses two points because the foldable tables were not easily locatable (hidden compartment on the armrests) and thus I spent the flight watching my downloaded Netflix movie with my phone very specifically balanced on my knee. Curse you, efficient use of space! Another point is gone because I spent ten minutes straight trying to manually pop my right ear, and after giving up, it painfully popped with a horrible squeaky noise. Curse you, eustachian tubes!

Otherwise, the flight was short and pleasant. I had tons of leg room, the window seat, and a nicely sized bag of Gardetto’s to keep me company. Shoutout to the flight attendant who came around with snack options and jokingly tried to scam me and my seat buddy out of 10 dollars for a bag of Cheeto Puffs the size of my palm. You’re a real one, dude. Flying into Eastern time around sunset was especially cool, as I got to watch the sunset speedrun itself. Within just ten minutes, the skies went from a navy to orange gradient to pitch black.

Aesthetic Plane Picture Count: 1
Anonymous Eagle
Aesthetic Plane Picture Count: 2
Anonymous Eagle
Aesthetic Plane Picture Count: 3
Anonymous Eagle

This made the landing in Connecticut especially pretty as well. There’s something oddly comforting about watching all the little lights from buildings and cars slowly become bigger and brighter as you get closer to the ground.


We landed at Bradley International, which is stationed north of Hartford and south of Springfield, Massachusetts. Another aspect of the mental flashbang of flying is the fact that I didn’t really immediately feel like I was across the country. The miles traveled didn’t really feel real, and as far as visuals go, Connecticut looked the same as Wisconsin; it was pitch black at seven o’clock at night, there was snow on the ground, and as far as greenery goes, it was a solid mix between forestry and roads.

Uncasville, specifically the Mohegan Sun Casino area of it, is a little bit like that place you get off the highway to go run errands or stop for the night on a road trip. There’s a strip mall with a grocery store, a CVS, a McDonald’s, and a couple of other small things to keep you sustained for a period of time. That being said, not having a car and trying to get to things even just a five minute drive away becomes an expedition on top of spending money. The General Tso’s chicken I got for dinner last night? Yeah, that’s my lunch for the next two days.

The drivers here do not care, by the way. There are limited sidewalks around the area of my hotel, and so if you walk anywhere in more than a group of three, there’s this gigantic trail of 18 to almost mid 20 year olds striding downhill like they’re off to see The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. We’ve been honked at for simply existing, for not walking across the highway entrance fast enough, and in general, people just don’t even slow down or move over a bit for us. Maybe I have high expectations, but I also feel like it’s not totally insane to want to be afforded some pedestrian rights. As a treat. I’d be curious to see how many Uncasville residents know why there’s a sudden influx of people around this time of year, and how many of them are bothered by us.

Speaking of residents, my favorite civilian interaction so far was absolutely the UConn fan my friends and I ran into at 7-Eleven, of all places. Walking around in coats with the MU emblem on it makes who we are a wee bit obvious, and this dude was making your average small talk: why you guys in town, etc. He openly admitted that even as a UConn fan, he’s sick of UConn and its fans and that he hates Geno Auriemma, so he hopes we do good in the matches and have a good time ourselves. Me too, brother.

HEAR YE, HEAR YE (03.03.23)

Just under half an hour away from Uncasville is a city called Mystic! Alongside the city aquarium is a cutesy village named Olde Mistick Village. It was quite magickal. There were a ton of small businesses, including but not limited to Beef Jerky Experience (yes, that is the store’s real name), Cloak and Wand, and Alice’s Haunted Bookstore. The highlight of Alice’s was the banned books shelf, which had Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and George Orwell’s 1984 on it, alongside several other dystopian novels. After a friend knocked off and broke the hourglass from a trinket for sale (he was not the first to have done it, apparently) I felt obligated to drop some Hamiltons, so I picked up a nice Stephen King hardcover.

(I bought The Institute, if anyone’s curious/wants the book rec. It was definitely not because I’m a Fallout 4 addict. No. You can’t prove that.)

At Cloak and Wand, there were many D&D and Harry Potter related items for purchase, but the real treat of the store was the drinks. At least forty bottles of syrup- some more disturbingly bright than others- sat on a counter, simply awaiting for consumption. I, pining for the frozen Butterbeer from Universal Orlando, ordered myself an iced “Wizard’s Beer.” 8/10. It was a bit more tangy and carbonated than I expected, but otherwise, I got the exact right amount of bang for my buck.

There was also a Starbucks built in the same fashion as these other ye olde shoppes, and I just think it’s funny when any massive chain has a building that even looks a little bit different or goofy from what you’d usually expect. Related: Their pumpkin & pepita loaf makes the perfect pick-me-up before trying to find an Uber below the price of thirty dollars.

Next on the docket was the aforementioned Mystic Aquarium, at which I paid the low, low price of three dollars to feed sting rays, which is now a core memory for me. The way it works is you make a fist like you’re holding an ice cream cone and hold the food where said imaginary cone is, and then when you put your hand in the water, the rays float over and vacuum it into their mouths, since its on the underside of their bodies. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at once, and became instantly funny because rays are a little bit smart- once they realized seven people were giving out food at the same time, they swarmed our side of the tank and actively started flopping over one another to fight for the food. It. Was. Epic. 10/10 recommend. The rest of the aquarium was really cool as well. It really can’t get much better than ogling at jellyfish that light up like rave lights with friends, and getting to take an on-time BeReal while the sea lions were being fed.

These are not the aforementioned rave jellyfish, but is the only interesting photo from Mystic Aquarium.
Anonymous Eagle

HURRY UP & WAIT (03.04.23)

The women’s team had a send off around 12:30, meaning that me and my other [redacted university program name] pals were hustled over to the arena/casino with all our [redacted equipment names] fairly early. As far as being a grand attraction, I ended up a little underwhelmed. Being under the legal gambling age wasn’t really doing me too many favors. The food situation wasn’t the greatest: your best options were twenty-plus dollar seafood, or equally overpriced Chick-Fil-A. The croissant-wich I ended up with was worth all thirteen dollars, as you can’t go wrong with buttery goodness.

Overall, the casino and mall area was not a bad place to set up shop. The architecture was absolutely gorgeous and it very much felt like walking through a jungle, especially with the waterfall section of the concourse. I was especially smiley after seeing the noodley-looking art piece in the picture below, as the Milwaukee Art Museum has something very similar!

Looks like something you might see in an Ocean’s 11-esque movie.
Anonymous Eagle

After food and the send off, which was technically just the team walking through the casino building, so the new thing to do became “hurry up and wait.” We got hurried into somewhere where we’ll be out of the way, and then we get to hang out and attempt to not accidentally fall asleep on the floor. We were brought through more security and down to the garage from whence we entered, where we’d sit until we could be brought into the arena.

There was Very Important Dog Content to generate while I was down there, however. I love Butler Blue as much as the next person, but you can’t look at Jonathan The UConn Husky and tell me that this guy isn’t the most friend-shaped blob of fur you’ve ever seen.

Not pictured: the ice chips they were feeding him, because it was hot as h*ck in that arena.
Anonymous Eagle

The Mohegan Sun Arena itself was exactly what you’d expect for a neutral conference tournament site. It’s a step up from the size of the Al McGuire Center, which makes sense since the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun play there, but not quite Fiserv Forum, and that’s a good thing. It was cozy, it was easy to heckle provide negative feedback to St John’s, and it was easily navigable. The chairs had cupholders, and in my book, that is basically the only thing I truly need in an arena.


Marquette snuck ahead of the Johnnies to win by 10 as well as advance in the tournament, where they’ll face UConn tomorrow at 2pm Central on FS1. If the Golden Eagles can break through that, they’ll play once more on Monday in the championship.

Eagle Abroad will have its next installation when the men’s basketball team flies out for the first round of the NCAA tournament! Until then, farewell, and goodnight.

Follow me on Twitter for occasionally funny tweets about Marquette related things! - @saxapologist