Much has been said the past few weeks about the difference the BYU student section, called “The ROC”, has been making at sporting events. Women’s soccer games have seen attendance records broken several times this season, women’s volleyball games enjoys a lot of fan support, and the student turnout at the football games has been higher than I can ever remember it.
This is my fifth year at BYU, and I’ve been to a lot of BYU sporting events. The first game I attended as a BYU student was the football home opener vs. Utah in 2011. Back then, you would get an email the week of the game letting you know where your seat was going to be. I could not believe it when I opened my email and it said I had second row seats. To the Utah game?! I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited and called my siblings, who had seats with me, to let them know the good news.
The day of the game me and my brother and sister rushed through the gates as soon as they opened up. We ran to our seats, where I shortly booed Utah’s John White who was stretching in front of us (he would go on to score three touchdowns in Utah’s lopsided victory). The students who had seats around me eventually trickled in to the stadium, but I don’t think the section was full yet even at kickoff. While everyone eventually packed in and created a great game environment, it could have been much better.
Why do I relate this experience to you? It’s certainly not a particularly good BYU sports memory for me. I tell you this story because it reminds me how much different, and better, our student section is now. I got in line for the Boise State game 6 hours before kickoff and I got seats nowhere near the front couple rows. The athletic department deserves a lot of credit for organizing the ROC and changing the culture of the student section. Long gone are the days of getting assigned a random seat each week. Now, the biggest fans are in the front, and frankly, they deserve to be. Students are making efforts to camp out for front row seats.
It’s not just football in either. You want awesome seats at a women’s soccer game? You’re going to want to be there at least 15 to 20 minutes early. We’ll see the same thing when basketball season starts in a month.
The rallying cry often posted on the ROC’s social media accounts the day of the game often says, “BE THERE. BE LOUD.”
We should be pumped to be at BYU at a time when the ROC is doing both of those things.