This isn’t a thing I do. It’s never been a thing I do. Sports fans are squeezed dry every day of the year and most do not have a bottomless supply of resources. It costs to be a sports fan. It costs big: tickets, parking, concessions, merch.
I’ve never believed it is my job to tell you how to spend your money.
I will make an exception this one time:
If you are a Fordham student, hop on the subway, buy a ticket, and head to Barclays Center on Saturday afternoon. If you are one of the Fordham alumni who crowd our boroughs and neighboring suburbs? Hop in the car. Park it under the mall across the street from Barclays. Buy a ticket. And if you just care, a lot, about local hoops? Get to Barclays. Buy a ticket.
Do yourself a favor. Be there. Be there when the Rams take on Dayton in the second semifinal of the Atlantic 10 Tournament, which ought to tip off around 3:30 or so. Hell, get there early, get there for the VCU-Saint Louis semifinal. Call it a scouting mission. Just get yourself to Brooklyn. Get yourself to Barclays. If you have something in maroon and white, dig it out of your drawers or our closet. See if it still fits.
Be prepared to stand. Be prepared to roar.
The Fordham folks did that plenty Thursday night, in the Rams’ tournament opener against La Salle. There were close to 2,000 students there. There were plenty of older folks wearing “F” hats and sweatshirts and windbreakers and pullovers.
“The fans brought Rose Thrill to Barclays Center,” Fordham’s star, Darius Quisenberry, said after the Rams dismissed the Explorers, 69-61. “Nothing like it. Obviously you can see the alumni, the whole community, and obviously our students did a tremendous job bringing energy the whole game. We fed off that.”
They came early. They shouted La Salle back to Philadelphia. They lifted the Rams on a night when they weren’t at their best. And even when it was over they weren’t done with the game, or the night.
“As we entered the subway, we could hear hundreds of Fordham students chanting ‘Let’s go Fordham!’ a Fordham alumnus named Robert Birge, who attended the game with his non-alum brother, giddily reported on Friday morning. “I didn’t think I would live to see such a scene. I might have thought I was at the Stadium or the Garden.”
That’s good. That’s as it should be. It is important to identify seasons like this one and savor every second, every morsel, because they aren’t guaranteed, especially at places like Fordham. Maybe this is the dawn of something special, something lasting. That would be a wonderful development.
Or maybe this is as good as it’ll be for another few years. No way of knowing. No way of telling. So maximize the moment. Enjoy the possibility. I have always felt a kinship with Fordham fans and Duquesne fans and Saint Joe’s fans. As a St. Bonaventure guy, in the A-10, we belong in one faction and the perennial powers — such as the other three teams in action Saturday — belong to another.
I’ve been lucky. My team has had a few seasons recently like this one for the Rams, seasons during which you simply cannot wait for the next tip-off and the adventures that’ll follow. My guys regressed this season. It happens. It makes you appreciate the good days that much more.
These are the good days at Fordham. Saturday will be a great day. Saturday it will be the Rams and the Flyers, and Dayton is a school that travels very well. It’s going to take a strong contingent of Fordham fans to make it feel and sound like Rose Hill South. So don’t rely on your roommate. Don’t leave it up to your classmate.
You have a few free hours? Get to Barclays. Buy a ticket. Purchase a frothy pregame beverage, the better to soothe your pipes for two hours of thunder. And enjoy every minute. Maybe someday that will be routine. For this day?
Do as the kid, Quisenberry, said. Let them feed off of you.