The following is the opinion and analysis of the writer:
It wasn’t that long ago that “armchair athletic directors” across Tucson made it very clear that an outside hire like Coach Jedd Fisch couldn’t possibly understand the passion and pride Arizona Wildcats have for their football program.
Social media and local sports talk radio were flooded with comments about the need for someone who played for us; someone who shed some blood on Arizona Stadium’s field for the Red and Blue.
Last Saturday Coach Fisch, his staff, and our players had 83 chances on offense and 63 chances on defense to prove their passion to Arizona fans. That’s only 146 opportunities to prove they put in the work, to prove they’re committed to building something special here in Tucson, and they did.
Now, we stand at the cusp of our first home game, and it’s time we return the favor. It’s time to fill Arizona Stadium.
Let’s take a moment and consider our basketball program. Whether it was to face Lute Olson or Sean Miller, do you think opposing teams looked forward to entering the fray of McKale Center?
Do you think opponents enjoyed looking across the court to see their coach’s face turning red while he calls out to no avail as defining cheers crash over his shoulders? Did they relish the feeling of having a missed shot result in a cacophony of punishing jeers?
How many games do you think we helped Miller and Olson win? How many times were their game plans not enough, but we helped make up the difference? How many times had our men fallen behind, drained of energy, down and out, and our fans —packed to the rafters — rallied them to dig deeper in the closing minutes?
We take so much pride in being agents of chaos in McKale Center, of being part of the team, and building a legacy. And we should take pride in it — we created something beautifully terrifying.
It’s time to do the same at Arizona Stadium, and imagine what we could do with those 57,400 seats. No amount of game day prep Coach Fisch puts in, no defensive play Don Brown can call up, or pep talks from a team captain can replace what 57,400 dialed in, pumped up Wildcat fans could do in that stadium. It’s time we rise to that challenge.
Coach Fisch and his staff have proven their passion, and any football analyst or fan worth their salt will tell you they have already proven themselves worthy of our trust.
So where is this passion that you judged Coach Fisch by initially? This passion that you claimed no outsider could possibly understand.
If your passion is sitting at home waiting for a team worthy of its attention, you don’t have passion — you have convenience. And the colors of convenience aren’t the Red and Blue, they are maroon and gold.
It’s time to wear your colors and Bear Down. Remember, those words weren’t designed by a marketing team, or workshopped in cheer practice. They were a call to action, spoken from our young quarterback’s deathbed to our football coach. It’s time to not just wear those words on our chest, it’s time to let them sink in.
Let’s boil it down to this: We have only six home games to prove our passion. Only six opportunities to make Arizona Stadium a terrifying place for an opposing team to enter this year. Only six late nights or warm afternoons to prove it’s personal, and only six chances to claim our ground and Bear Down together.
With those six tickets, you can be part of starting a new tradition, a new legacy in Tucson. Let’s build something greater than we’ve ever had before — and it all starts with filling Arizona Stadium on Saturday.
Louie is a young professional in Tucson and University of Arizona alumnus pushing the city he loves to improve and flourish.