Sunday, February 13, 2011

148/365 New theme: Spirit

What better way to start a new theme -- "Spirit" -- than with some school spirit?

I went to a Butler University basketball game on Saturday night with some fellow alumni (go dawgs!). I've attended a shamefully low number of BU games since my time in school there, and this was my first as an alumna. Oddly enough, I went to a Pacers game with some other friends the previous weekend -- that's more basketball games in eight days than I've been to in five years. By going to the two in such quick succession, I was really struck by how different the two games really were.

Even aside from my affiliation with the school as an alumna, which definitely makes me biased, the atmosphere of the Butler game was ten times more energizing and fun than the Pacers game. To start, the Pacers have struggled with fan attendance for the last several years, following the infamous brawl on the court in Detroit. They've had to resort to selling tickets for $0.75 recently to fill seats and draw fans to the games. I'll give the management credit for making changes to improve the team, but they have a long way to go before they regain a crowd's loyalty.

Now, when you go to a Pacers game at Conseco Fieldhouse, at least half the seats are empty. Most people seem to be there for the socializing aspects of game-going rather than for the game itself. The arena is pretty quiet.

Now, in contrast, your experience with the BU basketball game starts before you even walk in the door. Traffic lines the streets near Hinkle Fieldhouse. Parking is at a premium -- we paid some students $10 to park in their yard. And as you walk closer to the Fieldhouse, you can hear the pep band inside playing the school song.

Then, when you actually enter Hinkle, the atmosphere is absolutely electric. 80%+ of seats are occupied, and the crowd is wearing a sea of blue and white. Everyone is truly into the game: with every point, the crowd erupts in a loud cheer. With every ref's call against the home team, the crowd collectively boos in perfect unison. It's difficult to carry on a conversation with the person next to you because it's so loud -- not that you want to be talking, anyways, because the people there are actually there for the game.

And, of course, you have a solid student fan base. They don't hold back when it comes to supporting their team, even if it (oddly) means wearing a green suit to the game.

Fans know the players, their stats, their hometowns, and they're proud of the fact that Butler basketball players actually graduate from college.

The cherry on top? A youthful coach who exudes good-guy-ness and led the team to the NCAA Championship in 2010.

School spirit is not hard to come by. Who wouldn't want to root for these guys?

Camera: Canon 40D with 70-300mm IS lens, varying exposures at 1/160s

No comments:

Post a Comment