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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


7 UA gameday traditions to know

File Photo
UA fans line up on Cherry Avenue to greet the Arizona Wildcats before Wildcat Walk on Cherry Avenue before Arizona’s season opener against UNLV on Firday, Aug. 29, 2014.

UA is a land inundated in tradition. Here are seven important ones you need to know.

1. Wildcat Walk

A football tradition that started during the infamous Mike Stoops era in 2010 has formed into one of Arizona’s richest traditions. The Wildcat Walk is designed for the fans that are either tailgating or preparing for the matchup at Arizona Stadium to greet the players before they get taped up and warm up.

The players depart from the team hotel on a bus and are dropped off at the corner of Cherry Avenue and University Boulevard two hours before kickoff, where the band meets them and leads the way into Arizona Stadium. Players and coaches walk into the stadium past thousands of fans offering support and luck. Some lucky fans even get to exchange a high-five with players and coaches.

2. ‘Zona Sway

The 2014 football season introduced the “Zona Sway”, which the ZonaZoo performs before football games specifically right after the coin toss. All 10,000 students grab shoulders and sway back and forth like they’re singing kumbaya, but instead of “kumbaya” they sing “Zo-na”.

Athletic director Greg Byrne implemented the Zona Sway because “it [looked] really cool and help increase the energy for the early part of the game.”

3. Jingle all the way/hit squad

Depending on who wins the coin toss, the ZonaZoo (and the rest of Arizona Stadium) follows up with a pre-kickoff ritual. If the Wildcats elect to receive the football, then the fans at Arizona Stadium pull out their keys, hold them high to the sky and jingle them until the ball is kicked off, signifying the start of a drive.

If Arizona elects to kickoff, then Arizona Stadium holds their arms above their head forming an ‘X’, while banging their wrists together. The kickoff unit is known as the “hit squad” so the fans of Arizona Stadium stand behind them at all costs.

4. Stand up, McKale!

Arizona basketball has many program traditions, but the fans have to follow their own traditions to ensure that McKale Center is one of the most treacherous college basketball environments in the country, opponent-wise. One of the oldest traditions is standing up until the opponent scores its first basket.

It may take a few minutes to sit down when Arizona plays lesser teams, but the more your feet hurt the better — that means Arizona is keeping the other team off the scoreboard.

5. Starting lineup diss

Before the fascinating starting lineup video — which counts down Arizona’s accomplishments (all the way down to Hall of Fame head coach Lute Olson saying, “One national championship”) — plays, the visiting starting lineup is announced to McKale Center. This is when ZonaZoo turns its back to the court and each player that is announced for the opponent is greeted with a loud “Sucks!”

6. Play-by-play from ZonaZoo

Head coach Sean Miller started this tradition upon his initial arrival in Tucson. It involves the ZonaZoo describing exactly what the player is doing with the basketball. For example, if an opposing player dribbles the ball four times and then decides to shoot it, the ZonaZoo would yell, “boing, boing, boing, boing, brick!” It sounds annoying at first (and it’s supposed to be!), but it only lasts for the first four minutes of each half.

7. 3-2 winner rally towel

A new head coach means new traditions, and Arizona baseball head coach Jay Johnson brought with him from the University of Nevada “3-2 winner” rally towels. The team believes winning 3-2 counts is vital for the team’s success, so it encourages fans to help them do so. Whenever the Wildcats are in a 3-2 count, fans at Hi Corbett Field spin white towels around their head, urging their Wildcat player on for the upcoming pitch.

Given the team’s success in Johnson’s first season — an appearance in the College World Series Finals — the rally towels have indicatively helped.

Follow Justin Spears on Twitter.

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