Commentary: Came for men's hoops, leaving with a lot more

By Matthew Bassin
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I'm a sports fan. That's as basic as it gets.

I could complicate it by listing all the sports I'm a fan of, but when you break it down, I'm a sports fan.

So when it came time to decide which colleges to apply to, having a great sports program was No. 1 on the list.

I wasn't going to go to some smaller school like UC Irvine, NAU or some place where sports is a secondary thing.

I applied to schools like Michigan State, Southern California and, for some drunken reason, AS-who?

When I came to Arizona, one name kept flashing in my mind: OLSON.

I knew - I didn't think, I knew - I was going to be part of a school that was going to win a national title.

My freshman year, the men's basketball team had names like Richard Jefferson, Jason Gardner, Michael Wright, Gilbert Arenas, Luke Walton, Loren Woods and Eugene Edgerson.

It was 2001 and we were facing Duke in the final game.

I hate Duke!

Anyway, over my five years as a Wildcat, I have come to appreciate much more than our basketball team, which I still appreciate immensely.

This semester I joined the staff at the Arizona Daily Wildcat, with hopes of writing sports.

They gave me tennis.

Not my first choice, I'll admit, but a great one in the end.

Going to practice, covering the matches, chit-chatting with coaches and players alike. It was a blast!

I really got to see another side of sports at this school.

I didn't realize how many sports we were actually ranked in. Look it up for yourself, you'll be amazed.

We have some wonderful athletes at this school who, if you would just watch for five minutes, will impress the hell out of you.

I used to think Arizona was basketball, basketball and more basketball.

But as the years flew by, and my connection to the school grew, I opened my eyes and saw what was in front of me.

This school has so much to offer, and I only took in part of it.

I've seen three head football coaches and countless basketball players leave for the NBA since I enrolled here.

I've seen two big-name Olympians at this school go to the birthplace of the Olympics and bring back gold.

But I never got to see a baseball game, a soccer game or even a tennis match until my final year.

I spent so much time convinced this was a one-sport school that I missed all the wonderful opportunities of cheering on my fellow Wildcats in other sports.

My point is, don't just sit back and watch your college life fly by. Get up and support your team, whether it be soccer, tennis or a club sport.

Wear that cardinal red and navy blue with pride.

Because no matter what happens in life, wherever you go, whatever you do, there is one thing you will always be ...

Bear Down, Go Cats, Ari-Zona! And all that jazz.

Most of all, be proud of your school because from now until forever you will always be an Arizona Wildcat!