We want UCI spirit.. just not too much.

After being hushed by Bren Events Center staff while cheering for his team, Junior Coleton Hutchins had plenty to say.  This year’s Homecoming game was a great event for UCI students and alumni, but are we still being held back? Hutchins sent me the following.

“UC.. LA! UC.. LA! Oh how I dreamed of one day being a part of something as magnificent the screaming student section from UCLA or any other well-known university. But what did I know? I assumed all colleges flaunted their school spirit every chance they got. Boy, was I mistaken.

On January 22, 2010, I was a part of something I had never dreamed possible at UCI. I found myself screaming “DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE” at the top of my lungs for the opening ten minutes as our men’s basketball team hosted conference rival, Long beach, in the Bren Events Center. I would have yelled for the duration of the game if I happened to have a voice to use the final 30 minutes.

School spirit had swept section 103. We had everything from students in afro’s supporting crowd favorite, Mike Wilder. We had our school’s letters gracing the chests of three bold men, not afraid of exposing their tan-less bodies to the record crowd on hand. We had students cheering in unison with the dance and cheer squads in an effort to infusion our own passion into each UCI basketball player.

As soon as four brave souls attempted to spread the flame of passion to their section, they were immediately snuffed out. Either those around them had complained their viewing was impaired by these inconsiderate men or they were spies from Long beach. My guess is the former.

For a moment, I was in utter shock as these men were asked to seek another area to show their support or retake the seats now grown cold from lack of body heat. My heart sank as they sulked in their seats for the remainder of the game.

How can we ask our student body to come support our sports programs and then immediately tell them to take a seat or move elsewhere the moment they begin to show interest? Are we to resort to telepathic communication with our players instead of vocalizing our fervor for the world to hear?

Keep in mind these four men were students. They were sitting amongst other students who have been blessed with the opportunity to watch sporting events admission free! They were not blocking the view of individuals who exchanged money for the chance to watch the game.

So where do we go from here. Do we divide our student section in half and label the sides “antourage” and the other “casual fans?” Antourage could thrive because of students who, like myself, have dreamed for the chance to be a part of a legit student section. And casual fans could enjoy their uncomfortable seats and cramped knees while enjoying a great viewing experience!

The Men’s basketball team hosts their next game at the Bren Event Center, Januray 27th. I hope those in attendance will clear their calendars and finish their homework in anticipation for another tough matchup, this time against Cal State Northridge. We need to create an electric atmosphere that intimidates visiting schools and shows nothing but support for the men and women who work so hard to represent you and me. As clique as it sounds, our team needs us!”

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