Arizona (13-5, 3-3 Pac-12) vs. UCLA (10-6, 1-5 Pac-12)
Friday, Oct. 18, 2013 – 6:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Series Record: UCLA leads 53-21-1
Last Meeting: Arizona def. No. 5 UCLA 3-0 in Tucson on Nov. 2, 2012
Current Streak: Arizona has won one in the series
McKale Center offers student athletes an experience unique to the University of Arizona. On game days, it is the gathering of thousands of red-clad fans to watch a competition of one Arizona team, but Monday through Friday, 8-5, McKale serves as the epicenter of Arizona athletics, housing 19 of the 20 Wildcat teams.
These cozy confines create camaraderie between student athletes exclusive to Arizona.
Out of this solidarity, the Bear Down Games were formed, a way for athletes to support their peers as one.
“The Bear Down Games are an excellent way for our student-athletes to support each other,” said Director of Athletics Greg Byrne. “The enthusiasm from the crowd of student-athletes at soccer and cross country earlier this year truly made an impact and I hope it is something that continues to grow each year.”
For each sport, one game per season is designated the Bear Down Game, a game in which student athletes from the other 19 sports are encouraged to go support their fellow Wildcats. The athletes sit together and wear a shirt that reads, “20 Teams Strong” to the games.
“The goal of the Bear Down Games is to increase student athlete unity across all sports and all sporting events, large and small,” said junior softball player Chelsea Suitos, the softball team’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee representative. Suitos played a large role in setting the plan into action.
The program, in its first year, has had superb results through its first two events, soccer and cross country.
“It was the most people cross country has ever had at a meet,” Suitos said. “And at soccer we had over 100 athletes and every team was represented.”
The student athletes will join forces once again this Friday for volleyball’s Bear Down Game against UCLA at 6:00 p.m. PDT.
“I think that student athlete unity and togetherness is one of the most important things for me,” said Suitos. “I think from a student-athlete perspective that it’s nice to have other sports come and support us, so I feel like we should all return the favor.”
The early success of the Bear Down Games seem to indicate the beginning of a tradition, bringing student athletes together.