Being a football player at Georgia State goes on long after season ends. Besides workouts and academics, this time of year is spent with my fellow teammates cheering on the GSU basketball team, and this season in particular has been unlike any other. The football team is a strong unit, we love getting together and doing things as a group. It has become one of our favorite things to make it to every basketball game possible, and make it known that we support our fellow student-athletes. Under the hoop, the football team has marked our territory. We all got together and bought jerseys, go to the games as a group, and make our presence known until the final buzzer sounds.
I will be the first to admit that I have not been a basketball fan my whole life. I will even tell you I am still not a die-hard fan of the sport. I annually watch March Madness to witness the upsets and memories made and that was basically all I watched, until I became a student at GSU. Lately, I have become one of the biggest basketball fans to walk the GSU campus. My best memory was recently against Arkansas State when R.J. Hunter hit the game winning shot with 11 seconds remaining and Curtis Washington sealed the deal with a rebound to kill the clock. It took all of me to not storm the court.
I give a lot of credit of being the fan I am to my fellow Northgate Viking high school sports fanatic, Nick Bray. As a freshman I attended the games and just sat and watched like every other normal fan, but I listened and watched his passion for this team and had to start another section behind the hoop to add to the atmosphere.
What is said under the hoop is only for the two teams playing to hear, but if you ask my teammates and me, we take a lot of the “credit” for a few technical fouls in the previous home game against Arkansas Little Rock. I can promise you that you will never want to play against this team with our crew back there. Our goal for this season is to make the GSU Sports Arena the most feared court for a team to visit. We like to call ourselves The 6th Man. We wear blue GSU basketball jerseys and sit behind the near-side hoop and simply yell. We recently had a news station post a video to YouTube showing our efforts to make a player miss a free throw; it works every now and then. When you attend Thursday’s game, just find us, you can’t miss us. You will be greatly entertained, just ask fellow fans, President Becker, Athletic Director Cheryl Levick, and even Coach Hunter.
Attending the games is more than just a fun thing to do; we want to let the other athletes know that their seasons are just as important as ours. The basketball team is currently on an 11-game winning streak, if they make it to 12 they will break the school record set back in 2011. This Saturday’s game is HUGE for not only GSU Basketball, but for the whole University. The team has worked so hard to get to this point and deserves everyone’s support. As an athlete myself, I know how important it is to know that there are loyal supporters at every game. As a football team, we want to show that GSU has student-athletes unlike any other college.
While we may not belong to the same team, were all playing for the same name on our jersey. As a Georgia State student-athlete, we support each other because we all know what crack-of-dawn workouts and long team runs feel like. There is nothing like playing in a game and looking around to see your fellow athletes and classmates cheering you on. Being in my sport’s off-season doesn’t mean taking time off, it means spending time with my teammates and showing support for all of GSU Athletics.
The main thing every athlete wishes to do is play in a packed house/stadium/court. Our goal for this Thursday night is to fill this arena to let the team know that we are here for them. Not many college students get the chance to see records set, and this Saturday is your chance. Why would you not want to watch the energy of Coach Hunter pacing down the court yelling everything possible to get his team going? Why would you not want to support the athletics of the school that you attend? And who knows, maybe you will witness R.J. Hunter hitting a buzzer-beater to break that record, and I can promise you that you will see myself and my teammates jumping over the rails and storming that court to congratulate this special team we have this season. So I ask you again, how can you NOT be a Georgia State Basketball fan?
Come support the GSU Basketball team Saturday, Feb. 1 at 8:30 p.m. as it attempts to make history. Be sure to get there early. It’s first-come, first-served for the students down by the court. Help us #PACKTHESPORTSARENA. I can promise you that you won’t be disappointed.
–Wil Lutz, Georgia State Football