Commentary: What does it mean to be a member of the ZonaZoo?
What does it mean to be a member of the ZonaZoo? Let’s start by saying what being a member of the ZonaZoo doesn’t mean.
It does not mean being a part of some elite student section that has recognition from an online poll. It doesn’t mean going to games to snap a pic for social media. It’s not an excuse to tailgate all day on game days because the Pac-12 schedules the University of Arizona seemingly only night games.
Being a member of the student section means being a part of something bigger than simply being a fan. It’s something bigger than being a member of the University of Arizona community. It’s a chance for thousands of Arizona students to join together as one to try to make an impact on the game and cheer on their student-athlete peers.
The ZonaZoo is the students’ means of doing so. Being a member of the Zoo means showing up to games early to cheer on the football team during warmups and yelling until your throat hurts in the fourth quarter. It means leading the Tucson community in cheers and chants in the McKale Center. It’s about demanding excellence from the sports teams that represent us. And it’s always about beating that team in Tempe.
Being in the ZonaZoo also means having fun. It’s in no way mandatory for incoming freshman to buy the pass. It’s expensive. Sure, football games might be a hot social event, but it’s still meant to be about the football, especially with the one of the best quarterbacks in college football on the field in Khalil Tate.
Having fun in the Zoo also has a great deal to do with the on-field/court product. Winning is fun and losing is not. It goes back to wanting excellence from the players on the field, the coaching staff and the administration.
Being loud reflects the fans’ desire to win. The players feed off that. It’s more fun to be in the Zoo and be loud than to watch on a TV. It’s a better atmosphere that way and one that can propel a football program out of the quagmire of mediocrity.
The ZonaZoo is also a great way for sports fans to get involved. Having a passion for Arizona athletics and the ZonaZoo is common among students, and the ZonaZoo is how students can act on their passion.
Athletics is one of the biggest draws at UA. It’s one of the biggest marketing tools for the university and, up until the past few years, hasn’t been too terribly disappointing. In the last few years, student attendance at football games hit a new low, and men’s basketball still has some open student seats at tip-off.
Have an amazing year in the Zoo. Go to football games. Go to men’s basketball games. But also, don’t forget the non-revenue sports. The women’s soccer team won a program-high seven Pac-12 games last season and is improving. The women’s basketball team has a chance of being one of the top Pac-12 teams next year. Beach volleyball games are always fun to go to in the spring when the weather is nice. The softball team is consistently among the best in the country and will be playing in an upgraded Hillenbrand Stadium.
Access to these games are all included in your ZonaZoo pass, should you elect to buy one. These athletes are an important part of the campus culture and deserve a larger student crowd than they had this past year.
Editor's note: Max Cohen is a beat reporter for women's soccer and softball. He is also is a member of the ZonaZoo
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