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Commentary: UA sports and you: a beautiful relationship


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J. Ryan Casey
KAMP Sports Director
By J. Ryan Casey
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
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The information presented here may very well be the most important thing you read during your four years at UA, so pay attention.

Welcome to your first college class: Wildcat Fanship 102. That's right, you've all already passed 101.

How, you ask? By making the ingenious choice of attending this nation's premier university.

OK - this STATE's premiere university.

First, let's get to know the venues in which you will be taking in all the various sports our school has to offer.

Many of you likely are already familiar with Arizona Stadium, which is centrally located next to the many of the dorms - notably Graham-Greenlee, La Paz, Hopi and Apache-Santa Cruz.

Some of you may actually live in the stadium. That's right: Your first home away from home could be located directly behind the Zona Zoo student section, or even under the press box. How's that for a story to tell the friends and family back home?

If you ever get a chance to venture inside on a Saturday afternoon, there will likely be a football game in progress.

McKale Center, home to our nationally ranked men's basketball, women's basketball, gymnastics and volleyball teams, is probably the most recognizable building on campus. Here's something I picked up my freshman year: Don't plan on actually getting inside McKale during a men's basketball game.

That is unless, of course, you become friends with "that girl" who won a ticket, despite the fact that she hates basketball. In that case, chances are she'll almost certainly let you take it off her hands for free.

The name originates from J.F. "Pop" McKale, the Athletic Director at Arizona from 1914 to 1957. He also coached basketball ... and football ... and baseball.

Speaking of baseball, next up is Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium - or more simply, Sancet Field, home to the UA's baseball team, also known in some circles as the BatCats.

Located directly south of McKale Center, Sancet is a smaller venue that holds roughly 6,700 fans, yet still has that genuine ballpark feel. Head there whenever you get the itch to catch a foul ball, because your chances are infinitely better than at that other ballpark 90 miles up the road. Think of it as an Expos game. However, a bit of a warning: If you do happen to catch a foul ball, you're expected to give it back.

Moving northward on campus, we find ourselves at Hillenbrand Stadium, which is due east of Pima Hall (where some of you may reside this semester), and many of the fraternities and sororities on campus. Head here to take in a softball game; it's usually pretty entertaining (just think, 18 Ichiro clones slapping a ball around on a mini-diamond). While the capacity of this ballpark is half that of its southern counterpart a few blocks away (roughly 3,000), many would argue that Hillenbrand is actually the nicer venue - and consistently more packed.

From one Hillenbrand, we move to another: the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. Home to the men's and women's swim and dive teams, the aquatic center is situated on the east side of the McKale Center. Just a tip: Don't plan on actually swimming here yourself, or else you might end up in the very paper you're reading - in the PoliceBeat section. That's what the Student Recreation Center is for.

Next up is the Robson Tennis Center, literally a few feet away from Hillenbrand Stadium. You have probably already guessed this, but, surprise! The men's and women's tennis teams practice and have matches here. Our women's team has an international flavor to it, so if you're a world traveler, this will be a good fit for you.

Moving to the off-campus venues, Drachman Stadium (home to men's and women's track) and Murphey Soccer Stadium (you guessed it, soccer), are only four minutes away from the Student Union by car. I'm not kidding: I Googled it.

Drachman Stadium is the only place where you can catch some of the fastest students the school has to offer and get a tan in the process.

Just across the fence from Drachman is Murphey, the perfect venue for our Pacific 10 Champion soccer team. If you like intimate settings where you can hear the players talk to each other, this is it.

Alright, we still have a few minutes left (get used to hearing that phrase, namely every day in class), so why don't we go over a few do's and don'ts of Arizona athletics before you leave?

Do: After an extra point lands in the stands at a football game, always throw the ball behind you as far as you can. The object of the game is to get the ball out of the stadium.

Don't: Get caught.

Do: Tell Robert Cheseret that you were impressed by his cross country win(s).

Don't: Bother basketball player Hassan Adams for a photo when you see him in the union.

Do: Be educated about your UA sports. Two ways to start: Listen to KAMP Sports on the Internet - www.kamp.arizona.edu, weeknights at 6 p.m. - and read the Wildcat every day.

Don't: Do either of these things in class.

Do: Go to as many games for as many different sports as you possibly can.

Don't: Bitch about student sections. (We have one!)

Ok, now on to the story of John "Button" Salmon ...

Nevermind, just go read the statue in front of McKale.

Class dismissed.


-Wildcat staff writer Ryan Casey is a journalism junior and the sports director at KAMP Student Radio. He can be heard Wednesdays at 6 p.m. on 1570 am or www.kamp.arizona.edu. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.



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