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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Fan experience: Phyllis Goodman is no rookie

Simon Asher
Phyllis Goodman cheers as UA scores against ASU on Jan. 12

On game day McKale Center opens its doors for fans to witness Arizona basketball up close and personal. Athletes soaring well above the rim, bright lights and rockin’ music from the band include the entertainment at UA basketball games. However, maybe the most significant entertainment occurs off the court.

That off court excitement comes from long time season ticket holder Phyllis Goodman. Goodman lights up Mckale center with her personality and continues her energy 31 years later. Season after season Goodman stands up from her chair in pure joy and excitement. Goodman although just a fan, provides much more than her loyalty to Arizona basketball. 

“Phyllis gives the crowd that added energy that might be lacking and she brings life to McKale at any point when the camera pans to her. Everyone recognizes her and she shows that Wildcat spirit throughout the whole game. She is always standing and cheering no matter what the score is, she is a die hard fan and it is obvious seeing her every game of every season” Zona Zoo executive director Brain Goldstein said.

By dancing her way through a media timeout Goodman single handedly warms the arena with her character. Wide-eyed, dressed in red and blue and full of energy Goodman shows the crowd her moves and passion for the sport. The on-court cameraman notices Goodman dancing and displays a live image of her on the jumbotron for the rest of the crowd to see. Immediately the crowd erupts.

“I love music and I love when I can just kinda move to the music,” Goodman said. “If they’re playing, I’m up moving to the music without even thinking about it. It’s been exciting because when I come up on the jumbotron, which half the time I don’t even know, the roar of the crowd it’s like ‘oh my god, it’s me!’”

Arizona had their first exhibition home game against Eastern New Mexico University on Tuesday night and sure enough Goodman was there at her regular seat. Goodman spotted by her recognizable face and her signature red long sleeve Arizona shirt and blue beanie. 

“I’ve had it [hat] forever. I have no idea where I got it, when I got. All I know is I have it and nobody is going to take that hat from me, its my prize possession,” Goodman said. “I wouldn’t ever not wear it. What I start out wearing it may be different but if we’re winning I’ll wear the same thing until something changes. But the hat is always.”

As junior guard Allonzo Trier hit a 3-point shot from the corner, Phyllis flies out of her seat as if it was her first time seeing the ‘Cats in action. Fans walk by and wave at her making her almost as popular as the players and coaches on the court.

“I have a lot of energy, I do normally have a lot of energy. My preference would be never to sit down so I would do better in the student section because they are always standing up,” Goodman said.

Goodman has been a season ticket holder for over thirty years she recalls attending UA games with her father after moving to Tucson in the 40s. Goodman and her husband attended the UA along with her two sons and a few of her grandkids, so the love for the U of A has spread throughout her family. 

For Goodman age is just a number as she is 84 and that hasn’t stopped her one bit. The energy she displays continues in the 2017-2018 season against Eastern New Mexico. It was 47-31 at halftime with Arizona up. While most fans during the halftime break left their seats to get food, were relaxing in their chairs or checking their phones Goodman was clapping along to the beat of the band playing “Happy” by Pharell Williams and as always standing up. 

“Phyllis is older than most of the fans in McKale, but she possesses the same energy as all age groups, there is no barrier. It shows that whether the fans are little kids, or of the older crowd, we can all love our team and the spirit of this university and that is what matters most, pride and mutual affection for the Arizona Wildcats year after year” said Goldstein.

Goodman’s energy competes with the Zona Zoo. Just like students in the Zona Zoo stand during most of the game, Goodman does the same. During Tuesday’s exhibition game there were a few times when Goodman was the only one standing in her entire section.

“If I had my druthers, I’d never sit down; I’d be in the student section, never sitting down,” she says. “There, you can stand up all the time.” Goodman said to the Daily Star.

Goodman heads into her 32nd season as a season ticket holder with what seems as more excitement than ever. Even though she can’t meet everyone at Mckale Center anyone who has been to a game knows about her and her warm personality.

“Arizona men’s basketball is great, they’re wonderful and I hope they keep getting better and better. Maybe we have a shot at a National Championship, if we don’t I’m still not going to give up my tickets ever.”

Follow Cory Kennedy on Twitter

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