Going into my third winter in Indianapolis, I had never been to a Butler basketball game, even after all the times I had enjoyed watching them on television—especially during their two runs to the NCAA Championship.
I love seeing a small college team in my home state kicking the butt of some big college.
When one of my roommates, a graduate student at Butler, invited me to the game against Princeton on Nov. 16, I decided it was time for my initiation.
I had poked around Hinkle Fieldhouse a couple times and relished being in a basketball cathedral made immortal by the movie “Hoosiers,” but I had not attended a college basketball game in years.
As soon as I walked into that gym and heard the pep band playing as the cheerleaders and players did their pre-game routines, I knew that I would love being at this game.
The experience only got better, too.
There were ancient, hard wooden bench seats, brick walls, trough urinals and overpriced popcorn.
What more could I want from a sporting event?
All fawning aside, considering the success of the basketball program, I was appalled by the lethargic energy displayed by the Butler students.
Let me be clear that I am not referring to the student “superfans” on the floor that stand the entire game. Those folks did a wonderful job representing their school and supporting the most successful small college team in the land.
I am referring to the sorry-excuse-for-college-student fans that sit in the upper deck in that section labeled the “Dawg Pound.”
You know, the frat bros and sorority girls messing around on cell phones that have no clue a Butler guard just hit a go-ahead three-pointer with two minutes left in the game.
Was everybody forced to attend the game by their fraternity or something?
Does attendance at the game count towards the Dean’s List?
Worst of all, I did not see any of these healthy and free young adults taking advantage of the opportunity to flirt with members of the opposite sex. There were hundreds of your peers there right next to you! You’re in the prime of your life! It’s Saturday night! See if she wants to party tonight! Awful. Just awful.
So, for any Butler students reading this that sit in the upper deck, I want you to know that outspoken community members like myself see you as an embarrassment to your college basketball program.
I have attended games at Purdue, Indiana University, Notre Dame and Valparaiso, and their students all put you to shame.
And with all the resources those schools have (except Valparaiso), their programs do not deliver like Butler.
But Butler students in that upper deck are a joke.
I still recommend attending a Butler basketball game for the excitement, the history and the tradition.
The non-student fans are more engaged than almost any game at the college or professional level that I have ever attended.
Butler Bulldogs fan