Sunday, June 12, 2011

Night at the Museum or Afternoon at Hinkle? (12-22-10)

Before I get into the topic for this update, I have to apologize to my readers for the lack of updating over the past two weeks. Apparently finals, papers, and the fact that I got engaged last week were a little more time consuming than I had previously expected. I promise to give everyone a warning the next time that happens. 

Although I had intended to write this blog immediately following the Stanford game last Saturday, I thought it would be more enjoyable to reflect and write while enjoying the sunshine in West Palm Beach, Florida while the majority of Butler fans suffer in snow covered hoosier country. Truthfully, I simply forgot to pack and had an early flight Sunday, which made it literally impossible to update after the game. 

But anyway, despite the fact that this update will become outdated in a few hours (following the Butler vs. Utah game tonight), I still believe that this topic should be addressed and discussed.

Hinkle Fieldhouse, the home of Butler Basketball, is a national monument and historical landmark that brings numerous basketball enthusiast and historians alike to campus for a glimpse of one of the most storied buildings in college basketball. The athletic department have recently taken notice and embraced the new attention with museum like displays on the East side of the building displaying memorabilia from past and present events. Museums are known for the sophisticated and the quiet guests that appreciate the art/display in front of them. Here is the problem: that same museum crowd has carried over to game days at Butler and Hinkle is packed with fans who would much rather sit back and enjoy the display than cheer on the student athletes that work so hard each and every game. Those of you who have attended a home Butler game at Hinkle Fieldhouse know exactly what I am talking about. 

Over Thanksgiving Break a few weeks back, I did something that I never thought I would do - attend an Indiana University home basketball game. I was told that all of the students were gone on break - yes all 10,000 - and thought that Assembly Hall would be as quiet as ever. Wow was I wrong. 

I made my way to what is usually a student section behind the basket and politely sat down between the middle age couples and families that were taking the vacationing students spots. I was prepared for a nice and quiet game filled with a few questions from the nice looking senior citizen who was seating next to me about how the game was played. Again - Wow was I wrong. As soon as the game began, everyone from the 4 year old daughter in her IU cheerleading outfit, to the 85 year old man with an IU striped cane were chanting "Air-ball" and "Defense" along with the rest of the crowd. This was not the atmosphere I was expecting and definitely not the crowd I was used to back in Indy. 

A few days before the Stanford game, I had received an email from Coach Stevens urging us (the Dawg Pound) to be as energetic and rowdy as possible. He went on to say that the team fed off of the energy of the crowd and really needed us after a long non-conference season was coming to a close. On Friday night, I bought posters, paint, markers, and a white board in hopes that I could ignite the Dawg Pound. I sent out emails urging students to stay on campus until after the game. By the time I showed up at Hinkle and saw the line of students outside waiting for the gates to open, I knew that it was going to be a good day. What I did not expect was the reaction and involvement of the rest of the Hinkle crowd. 

From the moment the ball went up in the air for the tipoff, Hinkle was rocking. Many times (as opposed to none regularly) there were standing ovations for a defensive stands, there were adults and kids joining in on cheers, and most importantly there were Butler players taking in the crowds energy and taking it to a good Pac-10 school.

I haven't heard Hinkle as loud as that since the last second victory against Xavier last year or since Senior Night for AJ, Mike, Pete, Julian, and Drew. Can you imagine if Hinkle was always that loud? Can you imagine how hard it would be for opposing teams to come to Indy and play well? I can promise you that the Dawg Pound will work harder to ensure that this happens, but what will the rest of Hinkle do?

The new exhibit inside of Hinkle is a great addition that helps portray the amazing history of the old Fieldhouse. The main exhibits, however, are the Men's and Women's basketball games. What if Vincent van Gogh was standing next to a "Starry Night" exhibit? Would you approach him and thank him for such a beautiful creation? 

Consider a museum that always has the artists in attendance. Hinkle is the museum, and the artists are the student athletes that put their all into each and every game. Let's thank them each and every game for the entertainment they give us with our voices because unlike van Gogh, our athletes can hear you.

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