As March Madness is almost here, we take a trip down memory lane and look back at some of the best viral moments in NCAA tournament history. Here is VUHoops’ take on the famous crying piccolo girl:
Not all memorable moments took place on the court, and no one encapsulated the feeling of March Sadness more than Roxanne Chalifoux — better known as “Villanova’s Crying Piccolo Girl” — when she went viral following the then-No. 1-seeded Wildcats’ loss to eighth-seeded N.C. State in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
Villanova suffered an upset loss in the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 for the second-straight year. The Wolfpack kept the formidable Villanova offense at bay, limiting the ‘Cats to shooting just 31.1% in the stunning 71-68 result on Mar. 21, 2015.
When the final score was displayed, the cameras caught Chalifoux crying while playing in the band after the game and an unlikely star was born.
“At the game, people started texting me saying “Saw you on TV!” and I thought “OK, they saw me on TV. Whatever.” I didn’t really know it had become a big thing because then my phone died,” Chalifoux told VU Hoops back in 2015. “After the game I went to TGI Friday’s. They had the TV on and were showing highlights of the game. Next thing I know, they’re showing highlights of Villanova-NC State game. I was thinking “Come on, don’t make me watch this again! Give me a break!” Then they show me, crying, playing a piccolo and I’m like “Oh my God! You put that up there instead of another dunk?!”
“That made no sense to me and, of course, I’m still in my band uniform and my bow and people at TGI Friday’s were like ‘Wait, is that you?’ and I couldn’t believe I could say ‘Yes!’”
What first appeared to be a promising postseason for the Wildcats, quickly came crashing down. Villanova finished the 2014-15 season with a 33-3 record.
Chalifoux, a senior at the time, was devastated for the ‘Cats. Although she had been a member of the band throughout her time at Villanova, that was her first and only chance to attend the NCAA Tournament with the rest of her bandmates.
Within minutes after her quick TV cameo, “Crying Piccolo Girl” swept the internet. Memes, jokes, trolls and supporters flooded her social media profiles.
lol imagine crying flute girl was left shark? It's not so hard if you try pic.twitter.com/y2udhdxs82— Zubes (@the_Zubes) March 22, 2015
when you're crying but you have obligations to play a flute pic.twitter.com/ertzvbffLz— brendon mcnerney (@brendonmcnerney) March 22, 2015
She was even immortalized with her own bobble head.
Chalifoux learned to embrace all of it.
“In the beginning I was just completely overwhelmed with people finding my Twitter name and tweeting at me,” she said. “The good that came out of it was that I only had one mean person and everyone sort of took care of it. I got a lot of support from Villanovans and people around the country — even NC State fans. The amount of support I got was really considerate.”
The story didn’t end there. Jimmy Fallon reached out and cheered her up with some Taylor Swift tickets and an appearance on his Tonight Show to play alongside The Roots. She met all of them, as well as golfer Bubba Watson.
“Bubba Watson is so down to earth, just so nice, he actually asked to take a picture with me,” she said. “All of The Roots were so welcoming. I was so appreciative of them sitting back and working in this new think into what they do. They have their own set up, but they were willing to fit me in. A piccolo doesn’t fit with their instrumentation at all, and they learend the Villanova fight song and rehearsed it.
“They were all so kind. Questlove gave me a pair of custom drum sticks. Jimmy Fallon is just as friendly on camera as off camera.”
Since graduating from Villanova in 2015, “Crying Piccolo Girl” has hung up her instrument and band uniform. She got her degree in biology and now works as an optimetrist. She did make the trip to Houston in 2016 for the Wildcats’ NCAA championship victory over North Carolina.
Although the buzz surrounding her viral moment has died down, her picture continues to make its rounds from time to time during the college basketball season.