Define ‘Home Game’

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Define ‘Home Game’

Louisville Cardinals fans packed the Allstate Arena Feb.18. (Photo by Grant Myatt)

If perception is reality, then DePaul University athletics, its fans, students, alumni, and anyone else involved in supporting the program have some serious soul-searching to do.

I’ve covered sports for about five years now, and have never seen visiting fans take over an opposing arena like I did on Feb. 18 when DePaul hosted Louisville.

I take the student shuttle buses up to Rosemont for the games. Imagine my surprise when, upon getting off the bus, DePaul students are surrounded by more Louisville fans in the parking lot than I could count. I happened to wear a black and red fleece to the game and a random DePaul fan in the parking lot told me to “keep that on.”

The Cardinals faithful brought about 60 charter buses from Louisville and the DePaul athletic administration said that this is a regular occurrence when they come up here. In fact, they like to make it a weekend.

In my mind, that makes it worse.

Not only did they do it this season, but they have had enough confidence in the lack of attendance throughout the years to make it a tourist trip.

The official attendance for the game was 13,674. There was no count on exactly who was rooting for which team, but based on the noise, as well as the black and red-clad fans with southern drawls, I’d estimate at least 9,000 were Louisville faithful.

That’s embarrassing. When the Cardinals made their run to get back into the game, the arena got louder and louder when normally it would be dead silent. Why they were even let back into the game is enough to write another column.

Look at the pictures from the game, and you really might have thought the game was at the KFC Yum! Center (still my favorite arena name in all of basketball), home of Louisville hoops. It really should serve as a harsh reminder and criticism of those at DePaul who are able to go to the game but don’t. Truth be told, it won’t be any reminder.

And it’s worth mentioning that the DePaul players couldn’t be feeling too great about seeing that. I asked about it after the game and head coach Oliver Purnell said it was a great atmosphere.

But for whom?

Yes winning certainly would give more incentive to go to the games. But supporting the team while they are building will make it that much sweeter when they finally break through.

In the meantime, the Blue Demon fans who are faithful and at the games look like a joke to the nation because fans of a school drove about 300 miles.

Don’t be afraid to attend basketball games DePaulians. The team might actually appreciate it.