By Jeff Lund
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday October 16, 2002
I will be the first to admit, things are not perfect at the UA. There are certain things, or lack thereof, that just prevent us students from having an optimal university experience.
Here are a few suggestions to whoever is listening to make this a more student- and sports fan-friendly environment.
1) Pee Wee football at halftime of every UA football game. Halftime is usually when fans have the down time and decide to leave. There isn't anything really hot and exciting about a band walking around making weird shapes and stuff on the field. But watching a 2-foot tall football player take an end around for 30 yards and a score is enough to keep any football fan in the stands.
2) Have the OOH AHH man come to football games. Just before the teams take the field for the second half, have him get out there, do his thing, and hobble off the field. Nothing says energy like a balding die-hard Wildcat fan with a tank top that reads "OOH AHH."
3) Sell basketball tickets on an individual game basis. That way you won't get half-assed fans that are there for the social scene. It will be the Wildcat red-bleeding crazies that the men's basketball team deserves. Duke does it, Stanford does it, and Arizona is better than both of them. I wouldn't want to stand in line for hours to get random seating for just a couple games. I'd rather camp out and appreciate my tickets. Plus, no one will miss class. Get there early, get the tickets before 7 a.m., take a nap, then go to the game.
4) Move the John "Button" Salmon statue inside Arizona Stadium. The statue looks nice outside of McKale now but it really has no purpose out there. If they moved "Button" inside Arizona Stadium near where the players run out on the field, the team could slap or rub him for luck when they walk in. Maybe the ghost of "Button" has not liked his current placement and wants to watch his Wildcats win. Could be the difference between UA making it to the Rose Bowl or not.
5) Hand out towels, or those inflatable tubes, at football and basketball games (students ÷ you must return to the next game with the item. Otherwise, it is a lost cause). It is one thing to see an ocean of arms flailing around following a touchdown or three-pointer, but a crowd bearing towelettes and twisting them around their heads like a Petey Pablo video will be much more intense. So, if a business does sponsor UA towel day, fans, remember your supplies and bring it to the next game.
6) Play music during timeouts. Loud, exciting music, not old alternative songs students love to hate. Play songs students love to dance around, sing and jump to. When Arizona played at Wisconsin, following a TV timeout, the crowd was jumping around to "Jump Around" by House of Pain was playing over the PA system. When the commercials ended and the airing of the game resumed, the first shot the audience got was this immense crowd jumping up and down. Another good addition would be a sound effect following touchdowns. Oklahoma has a cannon, Washington has an avalanche alert thing. Arizona has fireworks when the team runs out, then nothing.
7) Move the band. If the point is really to hear their music, why toss them in a corner? The only time most of the student section hears the band is when they walk in front of it and scream up at the crowd in the third quarter. Believe it or not, the band actually excites some of the attendance at McKale Center. Maybe in a new location, someone would realize the "Pride of Arizona," played at other times than before the game and at halftime.
8) Implement an attendance point system. Since students must show their CatCards at the games anyway, I say have the attendant scan the CatCard at each UA event. The student will rack up points for each athletic event he or she attended. What will come of those points? I will tell you. Since there are always problems with selling basketball tickets in an orderly fashion, why not give those with the most Wildcat Fan Points priority seating rather than sticking them up in the yellow seats at McKale. Or give them first crack at tickets when they are sold. (At Stanford, you can't get into the big Cardinal basketball games unless you have waited and been at the smaller ones).
Maybe even a discount on football tickets or a free hot dog and soda at the volleyball and softball games. Students can go to Chuck E. Cheese's and win enough tickets to get a bed ornament for their girlfriends for cheaper than a hot dog and coke. Hell, whatever happened to cool free shirts? That is a solid way to promote athletics and is fun UA wear that was free and extends time between laundry days.
9) T-shirt cannon. The cheerleaders do a great job of making the fans cheer when there is little to cheer about (timeouts). Why not get that T-shirt cannon out and bust some of those out into the student, red zone and alumni sections during the game?
10) Why isn't Wilbur crowd-surfing anymore? Did someone get hurt? I am sorry if someone was injured and I didn't know about it, but come on now. Unless Wilbur has a thing against being groped by fans, he should get up in there.
Oh and bring some beach balls. Those are fun too.