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Aztec Fans Ready To Rock Viejas Arena For BYU Rematch

Audio

Aired 2/25/11

The SDSU Aztecs have one more day to get ready for the nationally-televised rematch with Brigham Young University. BYU beat the Aztecs a month ago, but that game was in Utah. This time, the home team will have thousands of fans cheering for them.

The big game is a chance for San Diego State University to shine. The national television spotlight will shine on Viejas Arena as two top ten teams battle for the top spot in the Mountain West Conference.

The SDSU student section, also known as "The Show", cheers on their beloved Aztecs.
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Above: The SDSU student section, also known as "The Show", cheers on their beloved Aztecs.

SDSU employee Emilio Ulloa braved chilly early morning temperatures to get a seats durning this year's basketball party.

"From the chants that the students do," said Ulloa, " to holding your finger up for free throws -- the routine that you go through is a lot of fun. It’s very participatory."

He called game day a blast because the entire arena rocks when the team gets on a roll.

The seats in the student section of Viejas Arena may be the most under-used pieces of furniture on the San Diego State University campus. The rows rise up from the court to the rafters behind the basket on the east end of the building. But the seats serve only as dividers. The students never sit down. They probably expend enough energy from tip off to the final bell to qualify for a college level physical education credit.

Aztec fans hold up signs during the men's basketball game against the University of New Mexico on Feb. 16.
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Above: Aztec fans hold up signs during the men's basketball game against the University of New Mexico on Feb. 16.

"It’s the thing,” said SDSU basketball coach Steve Fisher. "To get on your feet and sway and sing and do crazy stuff in a good positive way."

Fisher knows a lively student section can create a sea of noise that swallows up a visiting team’s will. "They set a great example," Fisher said.

Fisher said the home crowd makes Viejas Arena a tough place for visitors to play, and that’s what the Aztecs want. He also gave the SDSU student section credit for originality.

The students stand behind the visitor’s basket and lift up big cardboard cutouts of celebrities. The faces are both famous and infamous. They include Chuck Norris, Kim Il Jong, Snookie and Abe Lincoln.

"I think if you go back," Fisher said, "...when did the big heads come into play? I think they started in Cox, now Viejas Arena with our crew, years ago."

"The Show" got its name in 2004, said sixth-year senior Mathew Bishop. Someone suggested the students were trying to steal the show from the basketball team, so the student section stole the name. But they did not have to steal enthusiasm.

A fan adorned with face paint watches from the student section as the Aztecs play the University of New Mexico.
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Above: A fan adorned with face paint watches from the student section as the Aztecs play the University of New Mexico.

"We do everything from finding personal information from the players that we can chant, to just unique and creative chants that we can come up with,” explained Bishop. "We love making noise. We love being loud. We love the Aztecs.”

The group is organized. There are loose rules, cheers and some guidelines.

"But it is not about everyone being the same," said SDSU senior Gina Abbamonte. "We’re really unique and creative, in that, you’ll see the most random costumes. It’s not even necessarily related to SDSU or related to basketball. There are people out there dressed up as a gingerbread man, dressed up as a gecko. Everyone’s a unique individual, but we all come together and make the show.”

The team seems to be as big of a fan of the student section, as the student section is of the team.

"The show has a way of electrifying the arena," said Senior Aztec Point Guard DJ Gay. The players know a good cheering section can make a difference in a close game. And a good performance can make a difference elsewhere.

"It’s not just the students anymore. It’s the city," said Gay. "You know, I don’t think we would be having this great of a season if it wasn’t for our fans."

A national television audience will get a taste of the Aztec-BYU excitement on Saturday at 11 a.m. Coach Steve Fisher is urging the students to have fun, but keep it clean. Last year, the student section wore white shirts, skinny black ties and bicycle helmets when BYU came to town. Not everyone appreciated it, but it got noticed. And that’s exactly what "The Show" hopes for.

Comments

Avatar for user 'sspendlove'

sspendlove | February 25, 2011 at 5:24 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

As a BYU fan, I'm excited about the match up. As a KPBS listener, I'm a bit surprised that Erik Anderson used the word "hostile" in his on-air report of the match up to describe the BYU home crowd. In the spirit of sporting, every team has a fan section that gets loud and involved in the game. I would not say BYU was hostile, but supportive of BYU. If that translates to being "unsupportive" of SDSU, that's the way the game is played. It's not hostility, it's good old-fashioned competitive jarring for the home crowd. Something I'm sure SDSU students will do well tomorrow, albeit "hostile" to BYU fans ;-)

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Avatar for user 'sspendlove'

sspendlove | February 25, 2011 at 5:28 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Pardon me, it wasn't Erik Anderson that used "hostile" it was the broadcaster introducing the report by Anderson. At any rate, my comments stand for the comment.

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Avatar for user 'Greg Duch'

Greg Duch | February 25, 2011 at 5:31 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Somehow I miss the enthusiasm for mocking the clothing of those of another religion and encorporating it into a well-rehearsed show at the hosting school for inter-collegiate basketball. WHERE IS THE RELEVANCE? No, I'm not holy-than-thou. It's just stupid, unimaginative, immature, AND counter-productive to mock another religion. I don't care if the garb is black suits and white shirts, a Catholic nun's habit, someone dressed as the Pope, a Jewish yarmulke, a Sihk's turban, or Muslim prayer beads.YOU ARE MOCKING ANOTHER'S most closely held beliefs. You make an ass out of your self and shame your college for all the country to see on your national TV coverage.

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Avatar for user 'sspendlove'

sspendlove | February 26, 2011 at 11:19 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

And so the better team wins again....go Cougars!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Avatar for user 'Greg Duch'

Greg Duch | February 27, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

"SOMETIMES MOCKERY MOTIVATES AN OPPONENT" -CAPTAIN KANGAROO BRITESIDE AZTÉCS STILL HAVE LOST TO ONLY ONÉ ÓTHER TEAM

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Avatar for user 'Greg Duch'

Greg Duch | February 27, 2011 at 10:46 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

" SOMETIMES MOCKERY MOTIVATES AN OPPONENT TO VICTORY" -LINDSAY LONGHAND THE BRITE SIDÉ IS AZTECS HAVE STILL LOST TO ONLY ONE OPPOSING TEAM

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