Yesterday we introduced you to Jen Zarate, the newest contributor here at OTP and the person taking over the reigns of Chirps From the Nest. As you can see from her bio, Jen is a BSU superfan and I’d say it’s safe to say that her first game as an OTP columnist was quite the one to witness. I’m not saying her being on staff set off a karmic chain reaction that resulted in a 20+ point beatdown. I’m not saying it didn’t. – Ed.
All I can say is thank God we won. We all know the kind of fan base Ball State has. Lose one game and they never come back. I’ve never seen such a big turn out from the students and a fairly sober turn out at that.
There was a lot of hype surrounding this first game. The Student Government Association held the pregame Countdown to Kickoff during the tailgate time, but not at the tailgate town. This was one of those food-and-inflatables programs that are supposed to draw all the freshmen out and make them think it’s cooler than tailgating. Regardless of what they thought, it worked because I think the entire freshman class was at that game. And then there was the video board. It was super cool and people got to see their own faces on the big screen. Right on Athletics for leasing that bad boy.
And then there were the fireworks. Not the metaphorical kind either. Freshmen students and the cheer squads lined the field as the team ran out of the foggy inflatable helmet. Then there were fireworks. And boom goes the dynamite. The best part was that not only did we get a fireworks show when the team was introduced, but we got fireworks every time we scored and at halftime. I’m wondering if this is going to be a new routine, because, if it is then shoot, Muncie, we’re getting real fancy here.
So back to these students, I’ve never seen such a group. The entire stands were packed. Even when some people left at halftime, there were still more people there than at the beginning of the good games last season. Tonight, lives were changed. Dramatic, I know. But kids embraced their inner Cardinals and some kind of magic happened. Even when we were losing at halftime, we stayed. Even when they didn’t realize we were a second-half team, we were chanting “I believe that we will win.” And then there were the emotional messes like me who cried when the team ran out and the fight song started playing, but that’s just me. The point is, some kind of Ball State spirit took over tonight and I think it’s going to be a good season. I think we might have finally broken through to the fair-weathered student fan. Until Toledo that is. We’ll see what happens then.
* You can find a complete album of Jen’s BSU season opener adventures by visiting here.