CINCINNATI - Ah, the Crosstown Shootout. The game itself aside, it carries a tradition in Cincinnati that dates back to the 1920s, dividing the city of Cincinnati even further than their east and west sides.
The blood drives, the pregame coach commentary and speculation, the new t-shirt and basketball every year, the food that Skyline has so graciously provided this decade, not to mention the unpredictability of the outcome, leaving fans hanging on every shot.
But the best tradition surrounding the Shootout is the students camping out to prove their level of support for their team is worth a ticket.
Wait, what? Xavier students only started camping out Friday at 6 a.m.?
The following is the most grandfather thing I've ever said: Back in my day, we set up days five days in advance, sleeping and studying in the wet, windy, frigid weather, losing sleep thanks to the concrete ground and sanity due to the lack of space!
Xavier University announced this year that students were only allowed to begin lining up for Crosstown Shootout tickets Friday at 6 a.m., only to have their tent cleaned up at 6 a.m. Saturday morning, the day of the game, then proceeding to get back in line at 10 a.m. for tickets in the order they camped.
Seriously!? Twenty-four hours?
My first Crosstown Shootout began Tuesday before the Saturday of the game. My group had two tents, one nicely sized that fit three or four people comfortably but had six in it, and another that shouldn't have had more than one person in it, but instead had three.
We alternated sleeping in the big and small tents, through 20 degree weather, with whipping wind chill, rain most nights and flurries off and on too.
Xavier students back then earned their front row seat to the biggest game of the year. Heck, students camped out for the St. Joe's game longer that year than for this year's Crosstown Shootout!
You've gone soft XU. Come on now, make your students earn their spots, let them show their devotion by suffering a few measly nights out of the school year. (See photo gallery for students from the 2006 Crosstown Shootout).
In 2009, The Cintas Center was ranked by EA Sports as the third toughest place to play a college basketball game. Haven't heard a peep from this student section since.
Where's the pride Musketeers? Where's the dedication? The passion?
Prove me wrong this Saturday student section, and cheer the roof off. The Musketeers will need it.
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