Basketball is, for lack of a better word, magical.
In February 2020, I wrote a column for the Clear Creek Courant, the Transcript’s sister paper, explaining why I believe attending a basketball game is unlike any other sports experience.
The high school coaches and I outlined several ways basketball feels unique, with much of it examining the crowd’s impact on the game.
Whether it’s cheering so loudly that opposing players can’t hear their coaches or distracting them when they go to the free-throw line, there’s a reason the fans are sometimes called “the sixth man.”
Although I’ve seen all this firsthand across multiple teams at multiple venues, I admit most of my observations are based on my time at the University of Kansas. In Allen Fieldhouse, it seems like KU fans can conjure a W through sheer willpower. The 16,300-seat venue sells out every game, creating an environment so loud that opposing teams “feel the sound.”
I still remember where I stood on Feb. 25, 2012, when KU came back from a 19-point deficit to beat archrival Mizzou in overtime. There was no sitting down and there was no holding back — we were going to yell, clap and stomp until our team won.
All game, Allen Fieldhouse was the loudest I've ever heard it. When KU forward Thomas Robinson blocked a last-second Mizzou shot to send the game into overtime, the crowd let out an ear-splitting roar so loud, sound levels reportedly hit 127 decibels.
So, believe me when I say: that game would've turned out differently in any other venue.
I saw similar passion from the Jan. 27 home crowd at Colorado School of Mines, as the men’s team battled back against fellow top-25 team Fort Lewis. The crowd hollered and stomped when the Skyhawks were at the line, and the Oredigger faithful cheered for every home basket in that final stretch.
And while Jan. 27’s 800-plus attendees is the team’s biggest crowd of the season, I’m hoping that statistic won’t last long.
February is a big month for the local basketball teams. Golden High School is hosting Senior Nights Feb. 6 and Feb. 10. Then, the Mines men's and women's teams celebrate their Senior Night Feb. 18.
If Jan. 27’s crowd was one of the best junior forward Riley Schroeder has ever seen, imagine how much it’d mean to the Orediggers to see a sold-out Lockridge Arena, or for the Demons to play in a packed home gym.
So, I’m challenging my fellow Goldenites to pack the stands.
Bring family members, friends, classmates, church members, hiking buddies, neighbors and more. Let’s create amazing homecourt advantages for the local teams and send their seniors off in style.
I hope there are so many Demons at the Feb. 6 and Feb. 10 games, it’s standing-room only. I hope fans are so loud Feb. 18, the Orediggers feel like they’re headlining a rock concert.
This month, I hope Goldenites create a basketball atmosphere so magical and momentous, it can only be captured by that classic Allen Fieldhouse phrase: “Pay heed.”
Announcing the next “Coffee with a Reporter” event
Do you think there’s another sport where fans can have such a tangible impact? What’s your most memorable gameday experience? Should I write a follow-up column lobbying everyone to attend local baseball games? (I mean, you should. Just put all local Senior Day games on your calendars going forward.)
Join me for the next “Coffee with a Reporter” from 8-11 a.m. Feb. 9 at Bean Fosters. I’d love to get your general feedback on the Transcript, hear your story ideas, and/or shoot the breeze talking about sports and general goings-on in Golden.
If you can't make it this time, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or look for another "Coffee with a Reporter" event this spring.