I missed the Spectrum’s alleged glory days.
I’m not saying I emotionally long for them, I mean I literally missed them. I came to Cache Valley in 2013 knowing two things about Utah State — the football team was on the rise, and the Spectrum was more than just a great atmosphere, it was an experience. The Aggies, playing in a conference they had obviously outgrown, simply didn’t lose home games. The home court advantage gained from a student section 4,000 strong couldn’t be ignored, even on a national level.
For years, I’ve listened to Aggie alumni lament the loss of the Spectrum magic, and defend — sometimes vehemently, in this very newspaper — Utah State’s beloved home court. I was convinced people’s memories of the Spectrum’s golden age were blurred by various biases, exaggerated to the point of impossibility. I wanted to believe the Spectrum magic was still easily within reach after SDSU in 2013 and Weber in 2014.
Glimpses of the old Hurd appeared here and there throughout Stew Morrill’s final season, flashes of the noise and the volatility once considered a regular occurrence inside USU’s 10,000-seat arena. It seemed to me like talk of the way the Spectrum used to be was largely overstated, and perhaps current students were being held to a standard that never really existed.
I was wrong.
Acceptance is the first step to recovery though, right? So let’s agree to be honest here. What was once the sparkling gem in Utah State’s athletic crown is in for a brutal year. The unapologetic departure of would-be starter David Collette, the growing pains that always accompany a new head coach and a lackluster effort from a dwindling crowd has Utah State in a slow downward spiral circling the drain of irrelevance.
I’m not just talking about numbers. Packing the stadium full of students who’d rather be snapchatting than watching a basketball game won’t do any good. The Spectrum doesn’t necessarily need numbers to flourish, what it needs is attitude.
To put it bluntly, it doesn’t matter if the team is losing. If that’s your excuse for skipping out on home games, know that it isn’t a good one. Winning is always going to be more fun than losing, but don’t waste your time in college feeling like your basketball team owes you something — it doesn’t. That’s the very definition of entitlement; it’s an epidemic, and it’s spreading quickly.
Being a fan means sticking it out through seasons like this, and finding a way to have the time of your life anyway. The student section isn’t something you can decide to be a part of once you’ve moved on from USU. Standing for the entire first half at Jazz games and taking verbal shots at professional players isn’t the same, nor is it acceptable to most people sitting in your vicinity.
Don’t be a fair-weather fan. Don’t complain about the Spectrum’s decaying prominence while you sit in your apartment on game day and do nothing to reverse the problem.
Everyone wants the magic back, but instead of showing up and being loud and proud, fans would rather find blame with the team, the marketing department, the alumni or the Mountain West conference in general. Stop with the excuses — the Spectrum can be whatever students make of it.
— Logan Jones is a junior majoring in journalism. Contact him with feedback at email@example.com or on Twitter @Logantj.