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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Zona Zoo: Get your $60 worth

    It was one of the finer points of my freshman year here at the university: the day I got my first Zona Zoo pass. Finally, I had a license to cheer on our Wildcat football team at Arizona Stadium, and I could do it with thousands of fellow drunkards. I also had the chance to win tickets to the home games of our nationally acclaimed Wildcat basketball team! To say the least, I was pretty excited – yet in my elation, I was actually shortchanging myself. In all the anticipation of football and basketball games, I had taken for granted the opportunity to support our nonmainstream Wildcat sports teams.

    Unfortunately, such apathy toward sports such as softball or volleyball is shared by the majority of my fellow students. This raises the question: Why? The answer is certainly not for lack of effort on the part of our student athletes. Quite the contrary: Considering the recent success of many smaller programs here at the university, their lack of support on campus is totally undeserved. The answer must lie in the fact that there exists a general lack of awareness of sports that have been traditionally undersupported.

    Case in point: Before it was mentioned at Saturday’s football game, how many students were aware that our own softball team is a national champion squad? That’s right, in June our softball players defeated Northwestern to win the NCAA Division 1 National Championship in softball. This is something that every student at the university should have celebrated or at least known about, yet the sad truth is that too many of us were likely unaware.

    Softball isn’t the only Wildcat sport with high expectations; in recent years our baseball team has experienced a degree of success, making it deep into the college world series in 2005 and coming up just short of the NCAA Baseball Tournament last season. Expect big things from baseball this season, as the team returns most of its offensive firepower from last season.

    So, what if bats and bases aren’t your thing? How about checking out our No. 18-ranked volleyball team? Despite losing three-time All-American Kim Glass to graduation, the squad has been able to maintain a high ranking and looks to stay in the national spotlight.

    “”The volleyball team is currently 4-0,”” said volleyball team manager and civil engineering sophomore Sean Chan. “”The girls have come a long way in developing their individual games as well as their offense and defense as a team in the past month of practice and games – but it is only the beginning of the season, and they have a lot of work ahead of them.””

    Chan also offered insight into the grueling year-long regimen of the volleyball squad: “”The girls practice, lift and play all year round. … Volleyball for them is a year-long commitment which happens to last for four years.””

    Since you’ve already paid for your Zona Zoo pass, why not go support the fruits of their labor?

    There are still more great sports to check out here at the UA. You can go see cross country star Robert Cheseret cruise past the competition at a cross country event, or hit the links and check out the men’s and women’s golf teams (ranked No. 13 and No. 17 in the nation, respectively). Soccer, swimming, tennis, track – the list goes on, and every single one of them is worthy of more support than they currently receive. Besides, who’s to say that you won’t find at least one of these sporting events to be more fun than you expected?

    A word of advice to freshmen and new students: Don’t throw away your Zona Zoo pass at the end of the football season. Sure, this weekend’s football game was lots of fun, but so are pretty much all sporting events here at the university – they just offer a different ambiance than rowdy football or basketball games.

    Journalism sophomore Cameron Jones opined: “”The less-mainstream sports tend to have a more collegiate atmosphere, not semi-pro like football and basketball. Plus, they’re free, so what more could you ask for? My advice: Get wasted and check out a couple softball games; everything’s fun when you’re drunk.”” Truer advice was never given.


    David Francis is a pre-business sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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