Will the alumni please stand up?

Amy Durazo

College basketball is my life. March Madness represents all that is wonderful in this world. The other day, as I watched Georgetown somehow defeat Duke, my roommates heard me screaming from the other side of the apartment.

Still, the Villanova basketball lottery has not been kind. I have yet to win a ticket to one single, measly game.

Retreating to Kelly’s has become a gameday ritual for seniors, as together the overlooked fans root for the Wildcats. When the cameras flash to the crowd before commercial breaks and timeouts, it becomes quite apparent that our student section rocks. Our alumni section, on the other hand, could use some work.

Here we all are, sitting in a bar, hollering our lungs out while season ticket holders make Villanovans seem unexcited and uninterested about what might be the best basketball team we’ve ever had.

I understand that there are times when it is entirely appropriate to sit back, relax and quietly enjoy the event: movies, church services, golf matches. And there are times when it is not: Villanova men’s basketball games.

These boys deserve hoots and screams. Jay Wright, recently named to Dick Vitale’s “All ‘GQ’ Team” for his impeccable style, deserves whistles. But for some reason, the alumni find it difficult to deliver praise. Have their stuffy jobs made them immune to Lowry’s reverse and-one lay-ups and Fraser’s blocks? Or are they worried that an important client might see them jumping for joy on television and ruin their water cooler reputations?

At home, when I attend games at the University of Arizona, my main focus is always on the court. Still, I can’t help but observe the wide variety of diehard fans. The rowdy students are a given. But the three middle-aged men wearing referee shirts and mouse ears – the Three Blind Refs – are a treat.

The 80-something grandma, always clad in blue sweatpants, a red sweatshirt and a blue knit apple hat with pompom, never fails to jump up when a three-pointer is drained. These alumni wave their arms and flap their mouths for love of the game. And their team.

Besides a great line-up and monumental victories, what makes college basketball games so exciting? The fans. Why is Cameron Indoor Stadium widely regarded as one of the best places to watch a game? The fans.

Sure, Villanova wasn’t always worth the excitement. The ’90s represented a decade of mediocre seasons and unfilled seats at the Pavillion. But with Allan Ray and Randy Foye came something to rave about.

Three years later, it seems our alumni ticket holders have yet to be informed. Where along the way did they lose the capacity to relish the sheer emotion of the game, making them unable to respond to Nardi dropping yet another tre? Amidst guys wearing kilts and girls clad in body paint, there are too many party poopers dressed in three-piece suits. Villanova sells apparel. Buy some.

It’s one thing if you are reluctant to dance around and be silly with the best of them. It’s quite another to remain silent when a man you’ve never met blows his whistle and single-handedly ends our 2005 NCAA tournament run.

It’s unfair that seats reserved for the most boisterous, exuberant and unruly fans – the students – are so limited. Even more unfair? The best seats in the house are dished out to people who seem barely aware that a game is being played in front of them simply because they have fatter wallets than we do.

Here’s a suggestion. If you’re not going to cheer, give your ticket to someone who will. If you’re not going to howl, jump and act like a jackass, give your ticket to someone who wants to.

Our beloved team has managed to convince analysts and experts all over the country that they are worth all the commotion. What’s it going to take to convince the alumni?