An electric atmosphere: My experience at UVU/GCU men’s basketball game in Phoenix
When I became a writer for the UVU Review, one place that I was told I had to experience was the GCU Arena in Phoenix where the Grand Canyon basketball teams play. I was told that it was an amazing atmosphere and have heard many coaches say that it’s one of the best atmospheres in college basketball.
I finally got the opportunity to travel to Phoenix for the Western Athletic Conference opener between UVU and GCU. Although the crowd was a little sparser than I was hoping for, the experience was awesome.
My father travelled with me and we were able to spend some time at the UVU shoot around earlier on Saturday. We watched as the team prepared and just took in the arena. It is made for basketball only and so there is a reverence about it. After shoot around, I wanted to see the new 6,000 seat soccer stadium GCU had built. I figured it would be big but I wasn’t ready for what I saw. Press box, stadium seating, tunnels that led to team rooms and GCU spelled out in white seats. It was an amazing sight. I guess that is what spending $400 million in renovations over the course of four years gets you. My dad and I walked away very impressed and wondering what could be at UVU.
Then came Saturday night. I watched as student leadership led the GCU students to their designated seats. It seemed like the line of students never stopped. This was followed by the GCU band taking the floor and performing what looked like a halftime routine for a football game. It was wild to see this band working its way into the GCU letters and other symbols on a basketball court. It was all part of the energy that the school wants to bring to its fans.
Right before the starting lineups were announced it got even more energetic. The students locked arms and swayed back and forth to the music. Then “Turbulence” came on and the entire crowd started jumping up and down while the public address announcer urged them to get louder and get ready for a ‘Lopes win. Sitting in the press row and watching this it got my heart pumping and excited about the game.
At halftime, the GCU cheerleaders performed a routine they will take to Nationals and when they were finished the entire arena was on its feet. Not something you see too often, but it seemed like this school takes a lot of pride in all of their athletic teams.
Why do I write about this experience? It is with the hope that students will read this and see how amazing attending sporting events on campus can be. Look back at the men’s basketball home opener against Idaho State. The UVU MAWL was lit and it helped the Wolverines start the season with a win. The Utah State game was the same. A great crowd made for a great atmosphere even though it was a tough loss. Nearly 35,000 students attend UVU. We can build an atmosphere that fans and others who come to visit UVU will leave saying, “that was one of the greatest atmospheres I have ever been in.”
I am 32 years old, love the Chicago Cubs. A huge lego maniac and love to crochet team blankets (just ask, cool stuff)!! I have a passion for sports and a passion to write about them.