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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Zona Zoo, be a part of Arizona basketball”

    Michael Hustonguest columnist
    Michael Huston
    guest columnist

    Fellow students, for almost 20 years the McKale Center was without a genuine student section. For almost 20 years, generations of basketball fans were forced to sit among the “”old people”” and were told to sit down during the games.

    Now, thanks to the success of the Zona Zoo Program and Associated Students of the University of Arizona officials, Arizona basketball has the student section it deserves inside McKale.

    If you’re one of those fans who thinks that missing just one game doesn’t matter, Lute Olson would disagree with you. He has repeatedly praised the student section since its inception and called it “”a huge advantage for our team.””

    Arizona has always defended its home court well, but the addition of the Zona Zoo section to McKale has made it unquestionably one of the toughest places in America to play a college basketball game.

    I tell you all of this because, as a result of low student attendance this season, the student section that so many of us love is now in jeopardy.

    An unfilled student section at many of the non-conference games has led some fans and those in the media to call for those seats to be sold to the general public. Yes, that means “”old people”” would take seats reserved for you, the Zona Zoo.

    After several years of an unsuccessful lottery ticket distribution system, Zona Zoo instituted a new system in 2006 that allows you to purchase tickets to every single game if you so desire, but not to pay for those games you can’t attend.

    To buy tickets, you must first register your Zona Zoo pass because it will be your ticket into the game. If you never registered your Zona Zoo pass, that’sOK!

    All you need to do is call the McKale Ticket Office during their business hours at 520-621-CATS. The registration process takes about 20 seconds.

    After registering, log on arizonaathletics.com to purchase your tickets. Tickets go on sale at 6 a.m. on the Monday before all home games at a cost of $10 apiece.

    That means, for example, that tickets for the games against ASU on Jan. 24 and North Carolina on Jan. 27 will go on sale Jan 22 at 6 a.m.

    If you have questions about how to buy basketball tickets or when, you can always look at the Arizona Athletics Web site or call the ticket office for information.

    For more information, you should also be looking for the Zona Zoo’s weekly listserv e-mail and watching for the Zona Screw newsletter, which, I am proud to announce, is now the official publication of the Zona Zoo.

    If you consider yourself an Arizona basketball fan of any degree at all, or if you ever want to be able to sit among your peers at a men’s basketball game, then now is the time to show your spirit.

    I remember the days of being told to sit down by frosty-haired fans who got there late and left early. I don’t ever want student fans to experience that again, and I know you don’t either.

    The Cats face Oregon State tonight at McKale. This may be the best chance you ever have to sit just a few rows from the floor and watch one of the best college basketball teams in America.

    Because I know our coaches and players, I know this team will come ready to play. Because I believe in our fans, I know that you all will show up to prove the doubters and critics wrong.

    Come to the game tonight, and Sunday, and every game after that. Come show the team you’re behind them 100 percent. Come show our opponents that we do not lose in our own house.

    Most importantly, come show everyone that the Zona Zoo is here to stay.

    Michael Huston is the director of the Zona Zoo Program for the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. He can be reached at zonazoo@email.arizona.edu

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