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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Will the real UA fans please show up

Michael Ignatov / Arizona Daily Wildcat

University of Arizona meets Stanford in an NCAA mens football game in Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Ariz., Oct. 17, 2009. Arizona went on to win 43-38.
Michael Ignatov
Michael Ignatov / Arizona Daily Wildcat University of Arizona meets Stanford in an NCAA men’s football game in Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Ariz., Oct. 17, 2009. Arizona went on to win 43-38.

So you call yourself an Arizona football fan, huh?

Prove it.

It was just 10 minutes before the Wildcats were set to kickoff Saturday afternoon against Stanford — a team ahead of the UA in the standings — but Arizona Stadium looked more like a 9 a.m. Friday class in the ILC than it did a venue for a sporting event.

It was the football team’s biggest game of the season so far, it was Arizona fans’s first chance to see Nick Foles start at quarterback, it was the team’s first home game since Sept. 12 and yet the stadium was barely two-thirds full at the start of the game.

After halftime, about 20 percent of Zona Zoo decided there were better things to do that night. For a student section that labels itself one of the best in the Pacific 10 Conference, that’s pretty pathetic. The announced attendance for the game was 53,479. Looking around the stadium with two minutes on the clock, maybe 38,000 stuck around for the crazy finale because they apparently got their cue from the “”Zoo”” that this game wasn’t worth their time.

During the post-game press conference UA head coach Mike Stoops fielded lots of questions about the sub-par performance of his defense and the dramatic win. His most intriguing comment of the night came without being asked by the media. He simply snuck it in there at the end of the interview session.

“”We’ve got to suck it up next week against UCLA at home,”” Stoops said. “”Hopefully, it will be a more energized crowd and we can get this game and put us in a favorable position during our bye week again.””

That might not seem like a big deal. But people, the head coach of the football team noticed — during an important game — that the crowd wasn’t into it. He gets paid well to pay attention to his team and make sure they’re in check, yet he can’t help but notice how lame the atmosphere in the student section was.

He straight called you out.

Do you think Stoops and the UA players prefer 10,000 crazy drunks who don’t know what’s going on in the game or 10,000 crazy people drunk on the excitement of a college football game in their own backyard?

Sure, parties can be a big priority for some college students. But parties also last into the wee hours of the morning and there typically isn’t much school work done on Sundays. If you paid for your ticket — or even if mom and dad did — your presence at the stadium is preventing others from being there. If you go to the game, make sure your presence is felt the right way and not the wrong way.

When the Wildcats are on defense, scream your head off to mess up the other team. Don’t be too loud when Arizona is on offense so you don’t mess them up. Partake in whatever superstitions you think help the team out. But if you are going to half-ass it, please, just stay home.

Remember all the hubbub when people were turned away from the Idaho game last year? News flash — you can’t show up to a first-come-first-served seating style sporting event with a predetermined capacity and expect to waltz right up to the front row.

Give me a break, “”fans.””

The only time it seemed like there were actually UA football fans and people lined up at the stadium gates before the game was when ESPN televised a Thursday night game against then-No. 2 Oregon in 2007, but apparently it was just a convenient pregame for O’Malley’s later that night.

Pregame all you want, but is it really necessary to get so smashed that you want to leave the game before it’s half over just because you lost your buzz?

By all means, get that buzz going. It will help the time pass waiting at the stadium for an hour or two because you wanted to make sure you got those nice seats 10 rows up on the 50-yard line.

Also, I see Arizona basketball fans all over campus wearing their jerseys — even to football games. Now there’s nothing wrong with a little school spirit, and I’m not saying it’s mandatory to go out and drop 50 bucks or more on a Nic Grigsby or Rob Gronkowski jersey, but at least support the right sport on the right day. Ever even seen a Willie Tuitama jersey in the crowd at a hoops game?

The basketball program is arguably in the worst shape it’s been in 30 years and the football program is the better than it’s been in a decade. And still, people line up for good seats outside McKale Center hours before tipoff and don’t leave until the final buzzer. Those same people spend every possible moment pounding beers, shots and who knows what else before stumbling to Arizona Stadium on Saturdays and then leave before the band finishes its halftime rendition of Bear Down.

If you’re a real fan, the adrenaline will keep you going after your buzz wears off.

All the way until the clock hits 0:00.

Brian Kimball is a journalism senior. He can be reached

at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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