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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    State solon moved to song by ‘Cats’ Sweet 16

    Opinion: From the Chief

    When it comes to sports, Arizona men’s basketball is by far the biggest game in Tucson. With the team’s advance to the Sweet 16 Sunday, however, the buzz has spread far beyond the cozy confines of Tucson and Pima county, onto ESPN, countless sports Web sites and even to the floor of the Arizona Legislature in Phoenix.

    State Rep. Steve Farley, whose district 28 encompasses a swath of central Tucson just north and east of the UA campus, let the spirit of victory move him to his microphone in the house chamber to ask for a point of personal privilege.

    He proceeded to persuade the powers that be in the house to take the unusual step of turning on multiple microphones, one for each member of the southern Arizona delegation, and together they belted out their own rendition of “”Bear Down Arizona.””

    Well, it was almost in unison.

    “”It turns out that I was the only one in the delegation who actually knew the words,”” Farley said Tuesday night. “”Everyone started out strong with ‘Bear Down, Arizona …’ but then it kind of trailed off until it was just me singing over a background of a lot of humming.””

    The impromptu performance didn’t go over well in the Maricopa county dominated house.

    “”When I got done singing … the speaker of the house, who is an ASU graduate, said that when he was in school there were considerably different lyrics that he used to sing,”” Farley laughed. “”Somebody wanted to file a rules complaint against me for singing on the floor, and a few people from Phoenix asked me to let them know if I’m going to do it again so they can make sure not to be there.””

    Many people are afraid of jinxing future success in the tournament, but not Farley.

    “”I think there could be a reprise of this performance next Monday if we make the Final Four, and this time I’ll pass out the lyrics,”” Farley said. “”(The team has) always loved a big challenge when nobody else thinks they can do it, and you can’t ask for a bigger challenge than this year.””

    Although he’s not an Arizona alumnus – he graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts – Farley was an Arizona basketball fan long before he moved to Tucson.

    “”I was in San Francisco in the late ’80s, when you started to see the really good teams come forward – Tom Tolbert, Sean Elliott and those guys – they were great.””

    Farley applied to a MFA program through the UA’s Center for Creative Photography and didn’t get accepted, but once he’d visited, he knew he’d be coming back to stay.

    “”I loved Tucson,”” Farley said. “”It just felt more like home than anywhere else.””

    As for his knowledge of UA fight songs, well, the combination of attending scores of games over the years and the fact that his neighbors in district 28 are all UA professors and students, means he’s heard the words a lot.

    Another thing he’s heard a lot this year is gloating from ASU supporters in the legislature, as the Sun Devils defeated the Wildcats three times this season.

    “”It takes a lot of pent-up frustration to sing ‘Bear Down’ on the floor of the house,”” Farley said. “”Everybody needs a bit of a distraction from the really serious budget issues we’re dealing with right now. (After the singing,) both Democrats and Republicans can laugh at me.””

    Despite his enthusiasm for the team’s success, Farley doesn’t plan on making the trip to Indianapolis to cheer for the ‘Cats in person.

    “”I can’t afford that,”” Farley explained. “”I’ll just be singing on the floor the next day.””

    Nickolas Seibel is the editor in chief of the Daily Wildcat. He can be reached at 621-7579 or at

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