|The Fearsome Bobcat Student Section|
Ed note: North Texas played the mighty Texas State Bobcats in San Marcos while K-State (and a crapload of Kansans) visited Fouts. Intrepid blogger and UNT alum (and apparent Aggie fan?) Quoner, aka Brians_Song reports:
Have you ever taken a child to a sporting event? I hadn’t. My experience with children at games was simple: scan my seating area for children and then adjust speech/alcohol intake accordingly. So, when my seven year-old nephew decided to join me, my father-in-law and wife at the North Texas vs. Texas State game, I didn’t know what I was in for. Could I still yell? How often will the kid need to pee? Will he get bored 10 minutes in? Also, will a kid who has only been to two Houston Rockets games get into a game with about 300 people watching in an empty stadium with a giant white wall on one end of the court?
If you haven’t pieced it together through my questions, my focus was not on the court for the epic hoops showdown between the Mean Green and the Texas State Bobcats. The game started fast for the first six minutes with both teams moving up and down the court and scoring at a good pace. We found a nice pocket of North Texas fans behind the family members of the players and coaches and were pretty excited to have friendly surroundings. Then, we noticed the crowd was probably only 60/40 Texas State. It would have made a great back and forth atmosphere if anyone had decided to cheer before the second half.
We applauded our baskets politely as Texas States struggling 6 member student section (although they must have called friends, because there were 11 by the second half) tried their darndest. Their leader was a strapping young portly fellow with a Richard Simmons perm who seemed to take his job very seriously. On turnovers, he hollered “Te-xas Staaate basketball!” with all the enthusiasm of a Pistons PA announcer. If an NT play bogged down, he started fast-talking “what’s the play, what’s the play” with unmatched gusto. If he had any kind of support, Curly McButterPants could have been a true difference-maker. We’ll come back to him.
As the first half continued, North Texas played (to be kind) F minus-level basketball. Texas State killed them on the boards and defended the paint like…well, a team that didn’t just give up a bazillion points to Our Lady of the Lake. Side note: whenever I watch college basketball played over the holidays or bowl games, I always find myself wondering how much they care. I didn’t play any sports past high school, but sure as hell did not bring the same level of work or commitment to anything school or work-related when it was sandwiched around or even on a holiday. It seems like the players are not only fighting the team on the court with them, but the nagging question of “why the hell am I doing this when I should be with my family or out with my friends this weekend?” It’s not an excuse by any means, but since this is my minimally sports-focused write up, I can write whatever I want.
Meanwhile, my nephew’s interest in the first half focused on some terrible arena food. I’m not a very picky eater, but I can boldly say that the hot dogs at Strahan Coliseum are made from the cow/pig/mole/platypus’s inner rectum mixed with pencil shavings and rat tails. So, of course, he had two. When halftime came, I saw six eyes condemning me for driving them out of San Antonio on a Saturday afternoon to watch a late-term abortion of a basketball game between two teams they didn’t care about. I tried to assure them we’re a second-half team, but even my faith was a little shaken.
So, when the lead stayed between 10-14 for the majority of the second half, my faith switched to Life Support/Doubting Thomas levels. But, my nephew started to care for some reason. First, he decided he was sick of their leading scorer Ryan White and said that our White needs to show him he’s better. Then, he made it on the jumbotron dancing during a timeout. Have you ever seen someone you know get on a jumbotron? They just sort of lose themselves in euphoria. Once he reached this level of excitement, we decided to team up with the group in front of us to teach him a bit about heckling. It started innocently enough – when this guy shoots his FT, scream as loud as you can. He was hesitant at first, but then realized he had a reason to yell indoors and not wake up his little brother.
The comeback came a few minutes later. Josh White splashed a three. Then, our press started clicking. When we hit our second straight three to cut to four, it was last year’s ULM tournament game all over again. The game ended with a 28-12 run over the last 5:12, which I guess proves that we did learn something from Kansas. Plus, and this can not be stressed enough, Josh White has enormous, equestrian testicles that allow him to rise to almost any occasion.
As soon as the comeback looked possible, the UNT fans took over with defense chants and crowd noise that caught the Texas State fans off guard. Since crowd noise had been at a premium all day, it was nice to let it all out as the team continued to steal the game. CurlyMcButterPants had tried to engage in some exciting heckling with our section a few minutes earlier, but went silent when someone shouted back: “hey, at North Texas we can’t have this kind of conversation because our games have people.” His face looked so sad after he heard that; I’m pretty sure we ruined his holiday weekend.
For the second great moment in heckling, my nephew and I decided to tell Tony Bishop his haircut looked terrible when he was shooting to tie and he missed it, leading to what I hope will be a life-long love of shouting stupid crap at athletes – just like my papa taught me. I ended the game teaching him to do the talon for made FTs and he was still doing it when we left San Antonio Sunday morning. I don’t know if his mom wants him learning to yell things, but we did our best to tell him to only yell clean and non-abusive statements. If he becomes the over-the-top ref heckler, I promise to deprogram him by any means necessary.
So, to sum up, it was a terrible game that probably didn’t deserve more than 1,100 words, but damn it, if we created just one new fan out of the deal, it was all worth it. Here’s to a much better effort against UTA on Tuesday.