There is nothing quite like being in a jam packed basketball arena. Sound can have feeling, momentum shifts are felt by everyone in attendance. And for seasoned fans, there is a belief that when momentum shifts against your team, it can be reversed by standing in unison and cheering your guts out.
Ask USD fans about their most memorable games and you’ll probably hear of WNIT runs, beating Michigan St, a handful of victories over SDSU and a Summit League Tournament win over the Jacks a year ago. That tournament win was more than just a long awaited victory in that setting, it was also a long, slow push to “Paint the Premier Red”. It finally felt like Coyote fans had a foothold, a legit presence in the once blue dominated crowd. With todays announcement, that is all gone. While, in the end, it may very well be the correct decision in the times we are in, it still stings for this fan.
The fan eruptions at some of the most memorable recent history plays adds that added dynamic that makes them all the more memorable. Matt Mooney’s back to back to back 3’s versus State. Chloe Lamb’s huge 3 against Michigan St. Take the fans out, and while still dramatic, a piece of the experience that makes it memorable is lost. Early this year, USD in at the time was probably considered a shock, dominated SDSU at the Pentagon in Sioux Falls. Stanley Umude was unstoppable and ended the night with 41 points. While it is a game worth remembering, while I watched in my living room, the sound did not have feeling, my ears did not ring, It is not a ‘where were you when’ type moment, at least not a top 5 or 10 type moment.
Eventually I will get to where some already are. Eventually I will get to what Jay Elsen of MidCoSN beautifully stated “happy for games over grumbling”. But for today, I feel like grumbling. And long for a packed arena full of energetic fans determined to help their team get that win. The high fives with strangers after successfully ending the opponents run.
For now, we are left with limited attendance at home games, and now more than ever, it feels like we need to make the best of those opportunities to cheer our team on. Those opportunities are precious.