There's something fun, almost perverse, about going to an opponent's arena and watching your team play. You're somewhere that you know you shouldn't be. You're far outnumbered and you know there's a chance your team could win and you would get a really great sense of gratitude out of that. Unfortunately Purdue couldn't finish off the Turtles but it was fun to visit another B1G arena and see a pretty good game. Here are some of the highlights from my perspective.
I've lived in Maryland for about 7 months now but have been to the University of Maryland campus just one time. That previous occasion was last season when I went for an exhibition game and the crowd was quite unimpressive. This was my first time actually getting to campus early and walking around. My first impressions of the area were that it doens't look like any B1G campus I've been on. It is a very stark reminder that Maryland is very much an ACC school. The columns on nearly every building, the vast amount of green space, and the copious amounts of co-eds dressed in rather fancy clothes at 1:00 on a Saturday. It all seemed...very Southern. Perhaps my view is skewed but it just had a much different feel than any B1G campus I have walked around. The wife and her family commented on it as well so I know I'm not alone.
Pro tip if you ever attend a game at Maryland; make sure to grab some food on the main drag of campus rather than thinking you'll grab something when you get closer to the arena. There is NOTHING around the arena. There is a barn however, and a silo. It's very much separated from the rest of the campus with nothing but a rather large parking lot in its wake. The food at the arena was decent though. I was able to grab a pulled pork sandwich and chips for about $8.50 which is good for arena food. And, since this was in Maryland there was Old Bay Seasoning available at all the condiment stations.
The arena is spacious on the inside with a nice display for both the men's and women's national title trophies. Plenty of fans lined around the men's trophy waiting to take pictures with it. Unfortunately, and sadly, not a single soul was around the women's trophy. Very sad. When we made it to the seats we saw each and every seat in the arena had one of these on them:
One of these on every seat today. pic.twitter.com/qrLIsL7DKV— Jumbo Heroes (@jumboheroes) February 6, 2016
Good work by the promotions staff there as I know personally how annoying it can be to have to put one of those on each and every seat. You're gonna get lots of paper cuts and more than likely going to need to lick your fingers constantly. The gameday experience is a pretty good one with fun graphics, including the Boilermaker Special being run over by a train controlled by a turtle, and one of the cooler flag unfurlings I've seen. In the second half that familiar Ric Flair theme song(yes I'm aware of its myriad of other uses) begins to play and the Maryland students begin to unfurl two sections of the Maryland flag and pull it down from the top row to the front row. It was a really cool display. I know the Paint Crew does something similar but it hasn't yet reached this point.
Speaking of the Paint Crew and the Maryland students I have to say while it was loud in the arena it wasn't near as loud as many of the games I've attended at Mackey Arena. The national media is slightly obsessed with them at the moment since they are a highly ranked team but let's see what happens if they start to lose. Perhaps I'm biased (of course I'm biased), and maybe my seat high up in the arena prevented it from truly reaching me but I wasn't terribly impressed. Maybe others in high roller seats had a different experience.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the drunk Maryland bros (or #dmb as I dubbed them on twitter) that sat directly behind me. Before posting a couple of their quotes I want it noted that I had no problem with these guys they were respectful just drunk and had a good time. Now, enjoy some of these delightful quotes.
"Go back to Iowa you losers!" -Drunk Maryland Bro behind me.— Jumbo Heroes (@jumboheroes) February 6, 2016
After Hammons scores, "I don't even know that guy's name!" #dmb (drunk Maryland bros)— Jumbo Heroes (@jumboheroes) February 6, 2016
"This is the best Maryland team ever. No doubt." #dmb— Jumbo Heroes (@jumboheroes) February 6, 2016
"I'd be shocked if 44 hasn't eaten his own human flesh. Like eating placenta all the time." #dmb— Jumbo Heroes (@jumboheroes) February 6, 2016
Overall it was a pretty good experience. Maryland does need to work on their sound system a bit as the majority of the sound coming out of the video board sound garbled to me up in the cheap seats. Maybe that's just their way of trying to convince me to spend more money next time (jokes on them these tickets were a gift).
I'm afraid of this thing. pic.twitter.com/E6YdUz8dhJ— Jumbo Heroes (@jumboheroes) February 6, 2016