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How To Be an Animal When Not in the Zoo

Last Monday night at Pitt was taut with excitement.  That night, our Men’s Basketball team played in arguably the most anticipated game of the season against the Duke Blue Devils.  Ranked 17th and 18th in the country, it was a close match-up, with Pitt coming off a hot streak as newcomers in the ACC, and being favored by many to win.  However, despite a record home crowd of 12,944 and a tie-score for the majority of the first half, Pitt did not come out on top, losing 80-65.

Regardless, students started camping out in the Petersen Events Center the night before the game to try and get a coveted seat in the famous Oakland Zoo.  By midday, the lobby of the Pete was teeming with students, pizza, and donuts, and would only get more crowded as tip-off approached. Racing my way up the hill around 5:30PM (an hour and a half before game time), I came to terms with the fact that I would most likely be stuck in standing-room only, a section for the leftovers who can’t fit in the Zoo. Although it’s not the ideal angle in the Pete, I still managed to enjoy myself and thought I’d share these 8 tips to making the most of standing room only.

1. Find friends to stand with. Games are always better when you have a buddy, especially when you have to stand up for the entire game.

2. Swipe a table to pile your winter layers on. This came in handy on Monday when everyone had to dress for the Arctic tundra to make it up to the stadium.  Proceed to make a pile higher than your head of all the coats, hats, gloves, and free t-shirts from yourself and other students in the vicinity. 

3. Be good at small-talk. Since you most likely made it to the Pete early, just not early enough for the Zoo, you’ll have to rely on something (or someone) to keep you occupied for that hour and a half before the game.  Get chatting!

4. Make elaborate plans of sneaking into the Zoo, but don’t actually carry any of them out. This goes hand in hand with #3; you should devote most of your small-talk to adventurous ideas about how your friend will take his friend’s bracelet, and then give you his bracelet, so you can try to sneak in to the 2nd ranked student section in the U.S. Just don’t actually be that daring, since it might mean being thrown out and not seeing the game at all!

5. Longingly watch the season ticket holders in front of you devour their food, while listening to your own empty stomach growl in protest. Unfortunately self-explanatory. 

6. Take far away stalker photos of the action on the floor. What better way to get photos of your favorite players than with your camera’s 70x optical zoom?  Besides, they’ll never know you got the picture anyways.

7. Create your own mini-Zoo. Just because you’re further away doesn’t mean you can’t show your school spirit.  Chant, cheer, jump up and down, even yell at the referees as if they could possibly hear you from Section 113. Anything to show your Pitt Pride.  Just make sure you do it 10 times louder and larger to compensate for distance.

8. Last (and probably most important): Stay until the very end. Although you’ll be tired with aching legs and a growling stomach, stay until the final buzzer sounds. Stay even though your team is losing and you can already feel their disappointment from the floor. Stay because it might be one of your last Pitt games as a student and because, at the end of the day, that’s your team and it’s still great to be a Panther!  



Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Photo Credit: 1 & 4 from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2 & 3 from author

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