Thursday, December 01, 2005

University of Colorado, part 1

Before you skip this, these posts have nothing to do with Ward Churchill, well not directly anyway. This is a stream of consciousness about things I have witnessed living a few miles from the place.

The University of Colorado main campus is in Boulder, CO, world recognized as the only major college in the world where the host community is more liberal than the staff or student body. This explains some of the weirdness there, but not all of it. And, by the way, some of that weirdness makes the town a fun place to visit periodically.

A couple of years ago a friend bought me tickets to the CU/Texas Tech basketball game for Christmas. I went to IU and am a fan of Bobby Knight, the now head coach at Texas Tech. I was a bit surprised that he could get tickets as this was really not possible at IU. Student "season" tickets were only for 1/3 of the home games and if you weren't a student, staff or VIP you had to shell out a pretty penny to a scalper to go to a game. He said he had picked them up at the CU box office and that there were plenty of non-student season tickets to be had. I was considering it until we went to the game.

The game, referring here to what occurred on the court, was fun and more competitive than I would have guessed. The behavior of the fans, and here I mean the CU students, was appalling. I went to a lot of college games while a student and on a couple of occasions saw Coach Knight call a time out, grab a microphone, walk to center court and put a stop to students doing inappropriate things. I have never seen the kind of behavior that I witnessed at the CU game.

My visit to the restroom at half time was quite interesting. I was, as were many adults sitting around me, wearing an IU shirt. This is very common at any road game for Texas Tech. Many sports writers have commented on it. I expected the possibility that some tipsy CU student would make an offhand comment but I have worn an IU shirt to games at Purdue, both basketball and football and it was never a big issue. I had not one but two different students get up in my face and make unflattering comments about my heritage. For those of you who don't know me, I am 6'4" and should weigh in at about 230 pounds (I am more than that but that is another problem) and a farm boy and an accomplished martial artist. When I was 18 and hadn't yet gotten any wisdom, I would have leveled these guys. As an older, wiser guy I had the good sense to just shake my head and walk away.

During the second half, there was an escalation to the unacceptable behavior. Up to that point the biggest issue was that the student body, in unison, was "singing" chants that would make a sailor blush. But they decided this wasn't sufficient and began throwing empty cups and water bottles at the opposing team and fans. This escalated into full water bottles. After the officials threatened to call a technical on the fans, the CU coach sent "security" to the main student section. This ended the throwing but the volume level on the "F-U" and similar chants got considerably louder. And NOTHING was done.

On leaving the stadium I witnessed both cars that had been vandalized and things still being vandalized. Luckily, we had parked a few blocks away at an enterprising church that provides protected (security guards who are off duty armed cops) parking. So much for my thoughts of buying season tickets. I love college basketball, my wife would say I am fanatical about it but she didn't grow up in Indiana. CU pretty consistently has a good team, never great, but good. They play a number of schools with solid programs every year. Their student fans ruined any possibility that I will be returning to watch a game in the near future.

And the University seemed entirely unconcerned..... It didn't make the Denver paper even in the story on the game.


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