Thursday, February 26, 2004

The House That Roars

BG Tops Toledo in OT

Well, it wasn't the 50-point beating I was hoping we would lay on them, considering they're our biggest rival and (as much as it pains me to type it) they've owned us lately. It was, however, the type of game I wish Brandi could have come to, as Anderson Arena lived up to its nickname for the first time this season.

First, let me say that I had to sneak into the student section. Occasionally they'll check student IDs to "make sure" that only BG students are sitting in the student section. I hate it when they do that, because for the most part it's a general admission section, with the understanding that it's mostly students down there, and that most people will stand through the whole game, and be loud and crude. Granted, I graduated from BGSU almost four full years ago, so I'm most assuredly no longer a student, and I get the concept of saving the student section for the students. I get it. On the other hand...the season is almost over, and the fact that the student section was somewhere close to full tells me that there were plenty of kids there for the first time, despite the fact that they've had all season to come out. I, on the other hand, have been sitting in the same spot for the past seven seasons, and I've missed only a handful of games in that time (probably less than a handful). A lot of kids end up in that section and don't want to stand and yell with the rest of us anyway. I like getting loud and crazy--it's why I sit down there. Hey, I've got season tickets for a reserved seat in a great spot. If ever there comes a time when I don't want to stand and scream the whole time, I'll go sit up there. I like sitting with the students, though. It's not like I'm too old to fit in. Hell, I'm louder than most of them (which would surprise many people who have never been to a basketball game with me).

Anyway, I ended up going upstairs and climbing over the guardrail down into the student section. The event staff didn't seem to mind. By the time the game started, they had realized the students weren't going to fill the section, and had started letting civilians in anyway. I was already in there by then, though. I wasn't about to wait until gametime and hope there were still seats left.

The student section, when it's close to capacity and pumped up, is what gives Anderson Arena its nickname. The first row of students is pressed right up against the sideline (hence the "Sideline Squad" t-shirts that are given away once a year), and let me tell you, opposing players do NOT want to inbounds the ball from our side of the court. There are no boundaries in between fans and players. Our fans don't touch them, but they're right there in their ears. It definitely creates an advantage, and when the crowd singles out one player on the other team to harass, it can really get into his head (are you listening, Andy Hipsher? We still hate you. We hope to see you at Anderson in the MAC Tournament). That's why Anderson is known as one of the toughest places in the country for an opposing team to play.

At any rate, it was a good game. The rivalry, the closeness of the game, and the charged atmosphere made it a lot of fun. As I said, this is the type of game I wish Brandi could have come to for her first game at Anderson Arena, so she could have a better feel for why I love it so much.

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