SDSU women’s basketball fan is a one man ‘Show’

by Brandon Truffa, Senior Staff Writer

If you’ve attended a San Diego State women’s basketball game at Viejas Arena, you know the atmosphere is the polar opposite compared to a men’s basketball game.

To put it in perspective, the total attendance for SDSU women’s basketball in the entire 2015-16 season was 7,789, just more than 60 percent of the consistent 12,414 attendance at a single men’s game.

“The Show,” SDSU’s prized student section, is a no-show.

However, one man consistently supports the women’s team, and acts as a one-man “show.”

For the past three seasons John Kegley, a student at San Diego Mesa College, stands alone in the student section and cheers on the women at every home game. 

Even though he has never attended SDSU and relies on a friend who volunteers in the pep band to snag him a ticket, his loyalty to women’s Aztec hoops is unmatched.

Originally from Carson, California, Kegley has lived in San Diego for 12 years and has been a die-hard Southern California sports fan his entire life, especially for sports on the Mesa.

He is a season ticket holder for Aztec football and makes appearances at other SDSU sporting events, including ice hockey, baseball and softball.

Kegley does not own a car, therefore he resorts to running as his mode of transportation.

He says he runs upwards of 6 miles to attend a basketball game at Viejas Arena, but will occasionally take the trolley, which is only a 2-mile run from his house.

Five years ago, Kegley saw SDSU Athletics advertising $5 women’s basketball tickets on Facebook.

“I didn’t know we had a women’s team, honestly,” Kegley said. “I counted every penny, nickel and dime I had and I got $5 to go to my first women’s game. I saw that there was nobody there and I was ashamed.

“There were like three people from ‘The Show’ there, and this was back when ‘The Show’ was hardcore.”

The feeling of not seeing much support resonated with Kegley, and motivated him to make a stand and show support himself.

At first, he claims there were other students who would occasionally show up.

As of today, it’s just him and the members of the SDSU pep band that act as the student section.

So, why does Kegley do it?

“At the women’s games, ‘The Show’ doesn’t show up, and so I feel like if they’re not going to be there instead of sitting down and enjoying the game, I’m going to try to give us an advantage, with the bleachers and getting the band into it,” Kegley said.

Kegley says the feeling of being the only fan in the arena standing and cheering throughout the game was awkward at first, but after he realized the security was OK with his antics, the feeling went away.

The rest was history.

Kegley has rarely missed a game for three straight seasons, and wears the same gear to every game he attends: a black SDSU basketball jersey, hat, sweat bands and a chain made up of 220 old soda can toppers with an SDSU emblem hanging from it.

Unlike the men’s games, there are no pregame rituals from sections K, L and M.

A giant banner does not drape over the student section, there is no “I Believe” chant, no taunting of opposing players throughout the game, and not one giant head waves in the air to distract a free-throw shooter from the visiting team.

The only thing you do hear are Kegley and the band’s chants echo throughout the arena. 

Kegley believes the lack of attendance comes from the fact that some may think women’s basketball isn’t as exciting as men’s.

Typically there is a lot more scoring in a men’s basketball compared to women’s.

But this is not an excuse. Kegley said the support should be equal.

“If you’re a fan of SDSU, you should be at the women’s games as well,” he says. “They are Aztecs, too.”

Kegley also stressed “The Show” is as much as an experience for the players as it is for the fans.

“Believe it or not, being able to experience ‘The Show’ as you play is something the players look back on,” Kegley said.

Students are comped with free tickets to every sporting event hosted at SDSU.

For the general public, the women’s hoops team has a group promotion where tickets are $4 if you purchase 10 or more.

But Kegley believes SDSU could do more to promote women’s basketball for the students and community.

One of his suggestions is that when students go to pick up men’s basketball tickets, they include tickets to the upcoming women’s games in the pick-up as well.

Around the community, Kegley said there should be banners around the college area showcasing player’s on the women’s team, like senior forward Deidra Smith and junior guard Ariell Bostick.

His commitment doesn’t go unnoticed, as SDSU head coach Stacie Terry reveres Kegley’s commitment to her team.

“He’s committed to this program, and I love that,” Terry said. “He does a great job of getting the crowd into it, cheering and keeping our kids in a positive (attitude). He’s selfless, so compassionate and so very important to this team.”