On August 27, 2010 I wrote a post commenting on the game day atmosphere at Arizona Stadium. I was motivated to write the post after I read a similar article written by Greg Hansen of the Arizona Daily Star. I thought Hansen had some excellent ideas that I wanted to share with the AZDS community, as well as provide a couple of my own.
At the suggestion of AZDS commenter Vision646, I sent my post off to Greg Byrne, the Athletics Director at the University of Arizona. Here were my two suggestions from the post (to supplement Hansen's ideas) that I sent Mr. Byrne:
- Play up the Zona Zoo. It is arguably one of the best student sections in the Pac-10. Make them the unquestioned best. Show video montages specifically of the Zona Zoo in a frenzy. Make them a focus of the pre-game activities. It will only create more noise and excitement. The students will respond to being recognized.
- Keep a running count on the video scoreboard of each false start or illegal procedure penalty by an opponent on the video board. The Seattle Seahawks do this at Qwest Field, and nothing fires up the fans more than seeing that number grow every time the crowd noise causes the zebras to throw those yellow hankies on the field.
Well, Mr. Byrne has graciously responded. First, this is a huge indication of the openness, and willingness of the new administration at the Athletics Department to hear from the fans. And, not just the fans in the luxury boxes at the top of Arizona Stadium. For all he was concerned, I was just some random emailer, commenting on a local newspaper story, but he still took the time to respond to me. Second, he actually specifically responded to my suggestions, and did not just reply with some blanket rah-rah administration speak.
To my points, it sounds like he is open to the ZonaZoo receiving more exposure. Nothing was said specifically, but from his addition of the Wildcat Walk, and the direction he is taking the Athletics Department in general, I took this as an encouraging sign. Second point, unfortunately the school is not allowed to count false start penalties on the scoreboard due to NCAA rules. Mark that down as the 3,038th ridiculous NCAA rule. Still, I should have looked that up myself before making the suggestion.
All in all, I greatly appreciate our Athletic Director's willingness to respond to the Arizona community.
For those interested (and hopefully everyone going to the game is), here are the details on the Wildcat Walk: http://www.arizonawildcats.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/083010aae.html
In short: the Wildcat Walk starts 2 hours prior to kickoff at the corner of University and Cherry, where the team will come out of buses, and walk down Cherry towards Arizona Stadium, and their football locker rooms. Fans are encouraged to line the streets and cheer on the players and coaches as they walk to the stadium.
*I would like to note that I, nor Arizona Desert Swarm, have any connection to the University of Arizona Athletic Department. The words in this post are my words, and not that of the Athletic Department or any of its members.