Commentary: What happens when the band doesn’t show

The Roadrunner men’s basketball team is not off to a flying start in its first-and-only season in the Western Athletic Conference.
They have been defeated in each of their first six games in conference. Aside from losing the first conference game by four points and the sixth and most recent game by two, the Roadrunners have been beaten by 13, 20, 25 and eight points, respectively.
Also starting out slowly was the support of our fans. The game against San Jose State had a listed attendance of 825 people. I was at that game and that estimate is generous at best. What I took from that game wasn’t the lack of people, (lets face it, we rarely fill the Convocation Center,) but the fact that there was not a single member of the school band in attendance.
A case could be made that because it was New Year’s Eve, members of the band weren’t available to make the game. But that is not a good reason.
The game was at 2:00 p.m. It was over by 3:45, giving everybody ample time to leave the Convocation Center and return home in time to ring in the New Year.
The absence of the band reflected poorly on our university. I spoke with some of the San Jose State fans who were sitting in our student section (there were too few UTSA students—another issue) and they asked me if I knew why we had no band in attendance.
I had no answer.
For a group of fans who make only one trip to San Antonio, they left with the impression that the UTSA student-athletes did not have the support of the entire university behind them.
If we are going to continue to talk about UTSA’s ambitions of becoming a big time university both academically and athletically, we are going to have to step up our efforts as fans and supporters.
I know there are enough students living in San Antoniowho could have attended the game against San Jose State. I am sure the band has members who could have taken a few hours out of their holiday break to support the basketball team. The cheerleaders and pom squad were there, but the music wasn’t there.
Before attending the game against San Jose, I was watching a college basketball game on ESPN2 between the University of Minnesota and Michigan State from the Williams Arena in St. Paul, Minn. Not only was their arena full, but they also had a portion of their band, cheerleaders and pom squad, most of whom had probably just returned the day before from their football team’s bowl appearance against Texas Tech in Houston.
We, as a university, will soon be entering Conference USA, and in future years the university hopes to put a 10,000-12,000-seat basketball facility at the Park West Athletic Complex.
It is up to us to prove to our adminstrators that we warrant an arena with that big a capacity. Our history of attendance would prove otherwise unconvincing, but we can change that by showing up to support the orange and blue, win or lose.
And maybe the band will be there too.

Stephen Whitaker
Managing Editor