Aztec Fan Fest attracts football devotees

by Matthew Bain

After a seemingly endless off-season, the pads are coming back on, college referees are working again and the Green Line to Qualcomm Stadium will once again be packed like sardine cans on game day.

It’s time to be with friends at Trujillo’s Taco Shop as we watch road games on the big-screen TV. It’s time to be a part of the red and black chorus singing the fight song on Saturday evenings. It’s time to look in awe at the “We Are Aztecs” banner draped across Qualcomm. It’s time for Aztec football.

It’s an exciting part of the year for Aztec football fans, and one could feel the excitement in this year’s Aztec Fan Fest at Qualcomm.

Last Saturday, red-and-black-clad fans lined up to be a part of this year’s festivities. Those festivities included a myriad of fun sports activities, food trucks, an Aztec intra-squad scrimmage and an opportunity to meet Aztec players after the action. Athletes from other San Diego State University sports, including volleyball, lacrosse, men’s golf and men’s basketball, came to support their fellow Aztec athletes on Saturday.

When I wasn’t busy eating delicious food or watching the scrimmage, I had a blast walking around and talking with all kinds of Aztec fans. I met with John McGrory, a devoted fan who’s been coming to games since 1984. I met Thomas Sholan and Rachel Naval, two members of “The Show.” I also got to speak with many more fans and from those conversations it’s clear that Aztec fans can’t wait to see SDSU back in action.

One reason this season has so much buzz is the Aztecs roster. The team has a multitude of very high-caliber players who are thrilling to watch on the field. Sholan said he’s eager to see junior running back Adam Muema on the field.

“(Muema) could win the Heisman (Trophy) if he goes off,” Sholan said.

McGrory shared Sholan’s excitement to see the quick-footed running back.

“I want to see Adam Muema take off this summer,” McGrory said.

McGrory also believes junior quarterback Adam Dingwell is going to “take command of (the team)” and thrive this year.

Another reason this is such a big year for Aztec football is the challenging 2013 schedule. SDSU plays No. 2 Ohio State and No. 25 Oregon State universities in weeks two and three and its conference schedule is not very forgiving.

Fans can’t wait to see the Aztecs face Ohio State and watch the Aztecs on ESPN networks. One fan in particular, Todd Sickinger, can’t wait until Nov. 23, when SDSU plays the Boise State University Broncos at home.

He said that this rivalry game could be very important to the result of the Aztecs season.

However, there’s definitely another reason to be happy about the return of Aztec football: the return of “The Show.”

As another Aztec fan put it, “The Show” is “one of (his) favorite parts about going to any Aztec event.”

I can personally say that I’m thrilled to know I’ll be singing the fight song with a bunch of other screaming fans very soon.

SDSU’s first game is Saturday, Aug. 31 against the Eastern Illinois University Panthers. This game is also the KGB Sky Show game. It’ll be the first look at the 2013 Aztec football team and a game that fans definitely don’t want to miss.

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