Students, Pep Band Save Fans

by Staff

ESPN’s Big Monday made a stop-over at Cox Arena the other night.

Itwas an open audition for big-time college basketball on the San DiegoState campus — in which SDSU was actually involved in the contest.

The campus got national exposure early last year when the NCAATournament came to town, but the Aztecs weren’t playing. The team gotmore exposure when it played on a nationally televised game overWinter Break at Duke.

But finally, on Monday, SDSU had a chance to play in front of thehome fans, not only giving the team a chance to show off its talenton ESPN, but also allowing the fans to do a little showing off oftheir own.

The students did their job. They were loud. They were drunk. Theycame out in full force.

The Mullets were there. So was the guy in the Larry Ned jersey,complete with an afro and his brother in the cape. The rest of theafros were there, as were the pinwheels. And of course, Hard-Hat Chetwas leading the entire crowd in an all-out cheer effort.

Not to mention the solid effort put on by the band.

But if it weren’t for the students, Aztecs fans would have failedtheir course in fandom. They flat out dropped the ball.

Don’t get me wrong, for 59 minutes and 24 seconds Cox Arena wasrocking. The announced crowd was 6,171, but it seemed like at least8,000 were in attendance.

That group played its part for most of the game. Then a majorityof them pulled a move that is commonly known in the sports world asDodger-esque. You know, when you see all the taillights of carsheading for the exit at Dodger Stadium — in the sixth inning of ano-hitter. The kind of move where fans have NO LOYALTY.

With 36 seconds to go, down four and Wyoming on the free-throwline, SDSU’s fans pulled a Dodger. Apparently they didn’t want toface the disappointment of a loss, so they left early.

Real fans would stay. They live and die with their team. They stayuntil the bitter end.

Those who did stay Monday were rewarded temporarily at least,because they nearly saw Al Faux pull off the Miracle on 55th Street.

The scene: With 36 seconds remaining on the clock, San Diego Statetrailed Wyoming 71-67. The Cowboys were on the line to shoot a pairof free throws and made one of two to make it a 5-point game.

Many then headed for the exit to get out early and beat thetraffic so they could watch Jay — or maybe catch Blind Date.

Then things got interesting. Faux got ahold of the ball justoutside of the arc. With a steady hand in his face, he managed tonail a 3-pointer to make it a game again.

After a quick foul, Wyoming again only made one of two free throwswith 10 seconds left. The Aztecs got the ball to Faux who drove thecourt and again he answered with another 3-pointer with a hand in hisface to tie the game with 2.8 seconds left.

Those remaining in the building, mostly students, erupted in sheerpandemonium. They were rewarded for staying and they got to let itall out.

The lesson: Loyalty reaps its benefits.

–Dan Hayes is a journalism senior and the sports editor of TheDaily Aztec. He can be reached at DJHZE@aol.com.