Wake Forest @ Arizona
Tuesday, Nov. 26
11 a.m. MT
Live Stream: http://pac-12.com/videos/university-arizona
Radio: KTUC AM 1400 (Derrick Palmer and Lisa Salgado)
By Matt Park, UA Communication Services
In the classroom, teachers require students to raise their hands, to speak one person at a time and use inside voices. They also ask students to stay in their seats and be silent when doing work.
On Tuesday, Nov. 26, these rules can be left behind in the classroom when Arizona women’s basketball hosts Wake Forest.
“I want them to get as loud as they can get,” junior Kama Griffitts said.
“Them” is referring to the students from 24 different schools that will be attending “Field Trip Day” at the McKale Center.
It began five years ago when head coach Niya Butts teamed up with the Marketing Department to organize an event that recognized the hard work done by teachers and students. Together, they created “Field Trip Day”.
“I’ve been at a couple different places before Arizona,” head coach Niya Butts said. “We would always have an early game for the kids like a field trip. It gives the kids and their teachers a break from school.”
At the same time, there is an advantage of having an arena full of elementary and middle school students.
“It’s the most noise that I have ever played or coached in,” Butts said. “Even when I was a player and played in front of 15,000 and 16,000 people, it doesn’t beat 3,000 kids just yelling and screaming because they are excited about being in an arena. It’s amazing and it’s a great home-court advantage.”
Generally, kids are full of energy and enthusiastic about everything, but add the exciting elements of a basketball game and promotional giveaways and you get one of the most hostile environments for an away team.
“The road team gets to come here and play early,” Butts said. “But they also have to play in front of a lot of screaming kids who are not on their side. It makes for a fun atmosphere.”
Last year, around 2,200 students attended the Field Trip game.
“I just remember a ton of kids screaming,” Griffitts said. “It was very loud.”
Come Tuesday, there will be around 3,400 kids whose cheers will be ringing nonstop in the McKale Center -- no raising hands, no staying seated, no silence. This time, the rule is you can be as loud as you like.
“I’ve always thought that it was the craziest atmosphere,” Butts said.
By having a game dedicated to young fans, Arizona women’s basketball expresses its high regard for the students in Tucson. And by making it a field trip, kids will be looking forward to make some memories at McKale after months of school.
“First of all, the kids get to enjoy and do something that they normally wouldn’t do,” Butts said. “They like seeing the girls play and getting the opportunity to come out and watch one of their home team sports play is something special. This is an event for them.”
The game is slated at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26, as the Wildcats and 3,000 kids play host to a Wake Forest team that is in for one of the loudest events of the year at the McKale Center.