Memo to the ZonaZoo: Don’t Leave Arizona Football games


For the past several seasons, Arizona Football has unsuccessfully bribed and begged the ZonaZoo to not only show up but to stay for the entire game, no matter the score. 

It came to my attention recently students leaving Arizona football games early is part of the culture. A 2016 incoming freshman told me she’s ready for football and has season tickets for the ZonaZoo, but she wasn’t planning to stay the entire game. The reason? The students have to go party. Without even discussing underage drinking laws, ZonaZoo members should stay the entire game, without bribes. How does this new freshman even know there is partying waiting for her on September 10th?

It is amazing that the pretty successful only game in town has to compete for the attention of its own students.  Decades-long season ticket holders throughout the Stadium watch as the students are given free pizza in the fourth quarter.  Arizona Athletics has also offered high dollar prizes like electronics to entice the young adults to stay and cheer on their classmates. But it often doesn’t work.

The above tweet referred to a late-night defeat to Washington State last year. What are the other excuses? Here are a few:

More from Zona Zealots

  1. Many Arizona games are played too late. What is “too late”? Students stay up past their bedtime on the weekends anyway.
  2. Some games are played too early. Wouldn’t an early game give the students more time to party AFTER the game?
  3. It’s too hot. Wait, don’t many students choose to come to Tucson for the weather? (Note: more shade would help everyone stay for the entire game, even mist-ers would help)
  4. It’s too cold. Wasn’t it too hot a few weeks earlier?
  5. It’s non-conference. No dice, the bowl selection committee looks at the Arizona Wildcats’ body of work.
  6. We were way ahead.  Funny thing is Arizona, along with every other team in the country, has lost large leads and needs the fans’ support to hold home field advantage.
  7. We were so far behind.  Check out #Pac12AfterDark. We don’t have to go back very far to remember the miraculous comeback against Cal in 2014, along with many other come-from-behind wins that year by our Pac-12 brethren.
  8. There’s a test on Monday.  Okay, I’ll give you that one.

This post is not to rag on the ZonaZoo; we get a kick out of the enthusiasm on display and energetic school spirit.  We just want to see it the entire game.  After all, those in the Zoo who left early last November missed this party on the field after a double overtime win:

Maybe you shouldn’t have to wait for hours in line to enter the game in the hot sun, and then we expect you to stay in the sun for three more hours, that would be helpful (U of A can you make that happen?) Don’t get us wrong, we love the Zona Zoo and without you something is missing, you need to lead the way.  We want to see more of the best student section in the country.

Many Zona Zoo members are too young to remember Lute Olson’s late wife, Bobbi, encourage basketball fans to stay for the entire game regardless of the score.  She reminded us the bench players are as important as the starters. It’s a good lesson because we all are the new guys at various times in our lives.

Next: 2016 Arizona Quarterback Competition

BearDown Zona Zoo and we will see you in September, in the fourth quarter!