Right from the first Student Parent Orientation Program meeting it seems as though UC Irvine has been promoting to students that “your college experience is as good as you make it.” Now I am here to say that this applies to the sports experience too.
My point is we need to treat every game like it’s on national television. We need to black out the Bren Events Center like we shut down Edison. What UCI’s student body needs to do is transform itself into a different type of sports fan.
We need to tap into the spirit of a special type of fan in order to keep Anteater Field, Crawford and the Bren booming. We need to tap into the spirit of a Golden State Warriors Fan.
Transforming ourselves into the fan base that Mark Purdy describes as “doggedly loyal” can do nothing but help our athletes. Looking at the results of the men’s basketball games against Oregon and Cal State Northridge shows that a hostile environment for the visiting team energizes our home players. Ask any of the 2,500 students at the Blackout game.
I’ve been a devout Warriors fan since I was a child and I can tell you that having fun watching sports does not – I repeat, does not – require your team to be a winning one. Trust me. I know from years of agonizing experience.
For those of you who need help with your transformation into the best fans, I’ve outlined it into three easy steps.
1. Show up to every game.
This may seem simple enough, but I mean absolutely every game no matter what. The Warriors are coming off an abysmal off-season where they lost the best player they’ve had in a decade and an even worse regular season. Nonetheless, the Bay Area-faithfuls keep the house packed.
In his column, Tim Kawakami looked at “the most loyal ticket-buying region in the NBA.” He saw that the Warriors averaged a 95.9 percent capacity in the Oracle Arena. He saw an average attendance higher than the playoff regulars Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs and the defending champion Boston Celtics.
Now imagine if every pregame meal was the Duck Roast tailgate, or if at any given game you could decide to wear a throwback yellow CIA shirt and stick out like a sore thumb in the sea of black that could be our student section? Are you excited yet?
2. Cherish the highs and never let go.
If the Dallas Mavericks were in the midst of a 3-peat as NBA champs, you can still bet that I wouldn’t hesitate to look at a guy wearing a Dirk Nowitzki jersey dead in the eye and pop the collar of my golden We Believe t-Shirt.
Next time you see Kobe at the Arc, why don’t you remind him of the 2007 FIBA Americas tournament where he got crossed and had a 3-pointer drained in his face by the 7-foot Anteater alum Adam Parada of the Mexican National team. It doesn’t matter that the USA won the game by 27 points – we still won.
3. Always brag about our future.
When your team isn’t doing so well, there is only one thing to do – look at your young talent. Ask any Warrior fan what the future looks like and they will talk about Andris Biedrins getting double-doubles for the rest of his career, Monta Ellis and his one-man fast break and of course “future hall of famer” Anthony Randolph.
Freshman Eric Wise looks like he can carry the Anteaters for the next few years. Kari Pestolesi was one of the top players in the Big West as a freshman. After a year of rebuilding, our men’s volleyball team is posed for a few more years of dominance with its current group of players. With all that being said, it’s time to look up, Anteater faithful. The future is bright for our athletics program. It’s time to go out and actually witness it.