Letters to the Editor

UC Irvine’s Anteater Band Lonely During Sporting Events
It’s a typical Thursday evening for me. At 5 p.m., I’m sitting in Mesa Commons chatting with some of my friends. I have just finished getting in an argument with the employee at the desk, who swipes people in, and I have to explain how the black bag slung over my shoulder is a trumpet, not a backpack, and that it doesn’t fit in one of the coin-operated lockers.
You see, my friends and I are all members of the UC Irvine Anteater Band, and it’s game night. We are grabbing a quick bite before we start moving equipment from the music department over to the Bren Events Center. It’s a women’s game tonight, and I’m really not expecting much in the way of fans.
As a member of the UCI Anteater Band, I have gone to nearly all of the home basketball games, men’s and women’s, for three years. We show up, rain or shine, cheer, heckle the opposing team, play music and generally have a good time.
The main problem that I have, however, is the fans, or the general lack thereof. Unfortunately, attendance at games is dismally low, even at games that have been excessively promoted, such as the one mentioned in last week’s New University, “Economy is Down but Spirit is Up.” The fans who were there for the video immediately left at halftime, leaving the band alone in the Bren, accompanied by only the squeak of tennis shoes and the echo of our own voices off the empty seats.
Athletics is trying, and they should be commended for doing so, but there is only so much they can do to entice people to come to games. The Oregon State game, the one with a record attendance of 4,000 spectators, was a fluke. A very exciting fluke that resulted in an incredibly exciting game with our team playing much better than normal, but at the very next game, we were back were we started: alone.
It has become a regular occurrence that opposing fans outnumber our own, even at home games!
So come to the games, bring your friends, cheer on our team (they play better when you do!), listen to the pep band, learn the fight song and sing along. It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s free and it’s a ton of fun.
Please, because if I have to listen to Cal State Fullerton fans chant, “CIA, MIA” one more time, I’m going to go crazy!

Stefan Kehlenbach
President of the UCI Anteater Band