Throughout the season many of us in the Show were planning on taking a trip to a conference road game. We settled on February 22, at New Mexico. The comparison between the city of San Diego and the city of Albuquerque is simple. There is none. A group of 10 of us took off late Friday afternoon, and arrived in Albuquerque around 10:00 pm. The place looked deserted, and incredibly sketchy during the night. Not wanting to get shanked on the streets in the middle of the night, we decided it was best to stay in the hotel.
We awoke the next morning, and as dull as the town seemed to us at night, it was just that. Dull. Just about everything was a shade of brown. The buildings, the grass, everything. We grabbed breakfast and decided to walk over to check out the campus.
I have to give their citizens credit though. Everything was Lobo related. Graffiti on the sides of buildings had the UNM
logo, street marquees advertised their support. With no professional team, The New Mexico Lobos are the thing to do in Albuquerque. After about a mile walk to campus, we spotted the Lobo statue, and proceeded to make our presence felt. We each took turns mounting it, and covering it with Aztec gear. Few people on the street took notice and gave us angry stares. One bystander even took to his video camera and started recording our shenanigans. No one likes us. We don’t care.
We checked out the campus and you guessed it, more brown. Kind of an interesting note, there were random basketball hoops scattered around campus, they sure do take their basketball seriously. Probably the nicest spot on campus was a big pond smack dab in the middle. It looked like a fairly nice place, many families were there with their kids; it was kind of like a community park. Their pond however pales in comparison to our Turtle Pond. We went to a local pizza joint right off of campus to kill some time before we headed to The Pit. There we met up with Ryan Lindley and he bought the whole group drinks. We pregamed there, and soon enough it was time to head over to the arena.
The Pit. A mile high and louder than hell. There was a huge line inside the main auditorium of the arena, waiting to get in. I was so nervous and excited at the same time. Once I made it in, I stood just adjacent to Section 26 (student section) and belted out “GO AZTECS!!” as loud as I could. Met with a sea of boos, I knew we had done our job. They all knew that The Show was in the building. We all went over to where the team was warming up and sang the fight song. The team took notice and definitely appreciated that we had made the journey out there to support them. Some lobo fans did not take too kindly to this. I had one guy follow me through the arena for a good three minutes shouting obscenities to me, and told me “I hope you have a horrible time here and never come back!” I responded to him by telling him “I’ve actually been here before, I had a great time and look! I’m back!” He proceeded to tell me to “Kiss the Rings.” I honestly don’t get that saying. Yes they’ve won the most recent conference title, but San Diego State actually has more total MW Championships than UNM, but whatever. We got to our seats and practically all 15,000 people in the arena had us pointed out. The majority of Lobo fans around us were wonderful people, making small talk about the two teams and some of the expectations we had going into March. I told one of the fans in front of me how I just love being in enemy territory, to which he told me to be careful. And he wasn’t kidding. Though most fans were great, there were some fans who it seemed like they were just there to start a fight. Throughout the game it seemed like some of these people were far more interested in us, which who can blame them, we’re all really really good looking. Although our small group couldn’t compete vocally with the 15,000 Lobo fans that surrounded us, it was clear that our presence was surely felt.
The game itself was a letdown, obviously, but we still love our Aztecs and are proud of them. Couldn’t really buy a shot, but nonetheless, I’m glad I made the journey, it was quite the experience witnessing that good of a college basketball environment. Calling that crowd loud is an understatement. Throughout the game they had a decibel scale to emphasize just how loud it was in that building. The highest I saw it get up to was 119 decibels, but it may have been louder. Their fans came ready to yell. The only real knock on their fans is the student section, section 26. There was one costume that I noticed, a guy dressed as Walter White from Breaking Bad in his meth cooking outfit. I wasn’t even sure it was a costume, it looked like he may have just been coming from work. The only other thing of note the student section did was a Flash Mob. It was horrible and way behind the times. Welcome to 2010 UNM. I won’t get too much into how awful some fans were to us, but I will point out that after the game, some people from all areas of the arena came up to us after the game to apologize for some of the behavior that was directed towards us.
After the game, I gained a lot of respect for New Mexico Head Coach Craig Neal, as he pointed out the idiot fan who was throwing ice at our players As we left the arena, we walked over to the team bus where we saw the infamous Lobo Superfan Snake, and another big fan who has made himself known amongst The Show via Twitter, Lobo Gabe. I introduced myself to them and they’re actually pretty cool dudes. They’re just fans who love their Lobo’s and were pretty knowledgeable about college basketball. The team walked out and thanked us for coming out. They played hard which is all we could really ask. We love ya. And where you go we’ll follow. Cause we support the Aztecs. And that’s the way we like it. I know they truly appreciated the support, which meant a lot to everyone who made the trip.
We were advised not to walk back to our hotel that night due to how sketchy the streets of Albuquerque are at night, but with the next cab not available for another two hours, we decided to brave the streets and make the trek to our hotel by foot. It was only about two miles away, but it was pretty creepy. There isn’t much light on the roads, so during the walk back I grabbed a big rock just in case it was needed. We made it back to the hotel no problem, and were pretty exhausted from the long day. Few of us, myself included, had a 5:45 flight the next morning so we didn’t sleep that night. I had a heck of a journey headed back to America’s finest, but as I said in my previous blog, it’s a story for another time. Despite the loss, the trip was very memorable, and I’m glad I made it out to see the game. Now we’ve got a big circle on our calendar. All fans need to come out to this one ready to get loud. March 8th 2014. Montezuma’s Revenge.
Until next time,