A fan experience unlike any other

Isiah Santana, Sports Editor

Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners fan section cheers on the women’s basketball team after defeating Cal State Northridge Matadors 55-52. Photo by Mayra Gomez / The Runner

The student fans began to chant “Defense!” as the final seconds wound down in the first overtime of the Cal State Bakersfield women’s basketball second tournament game. UC Irvine women’s team brought the ball out down two. Graduate student forward, Nyagoa Gony, hit a two-point jump shot off a CSUB turnover to tie the game. In that moment, you could have seen both the CSUB team and the fans quit, but the fans’ faith in the team never wavered. The Bakersfield fans roared loudly to begin the second overtime. They did not want to lose this game. 

$60. That’s all it took for a CSUB student to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada to cheer on the men’s and women’s basketball teams at the Big West Championship.  

The students stayed at the Horseshoe Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and would travel from there every day to Henderson, Nevada to watch the teams compete at the Dollar Loan Center Arena.  

Game times varied throughout the days. Students were given a time to be out of their hotel rooms and in the lobby, ready to be loaded on the bus. Once at the arena parking lot, the students would wait until everyone was off the bus to be given their tickets for the game.  

After the students made their way through security, they would enter the arena where people would buy snacks, drinks and Big West Championship T-shirts with the Roadrunner logo on it.  

All students were seated in the same section, which gave the CSUB basketball teams an opportunity to see all the fans who came to watch them play. Looking around the arena, you could see fans of opposing teams, but they were scattered around the seats so it was hard to actually tell how many people were cheering them on.  

For CSUB, having the students sit in the same area proved to be helpful. The students were in sync with one another when doing chants. You could tell there were times when the men’s and women’s team really felt the energy of the fans. 

“I’m really appreciative of CSUB for taking students to Vegas. It was crazy waking up in the morning and watching games and cheering on the team, then at night having a ton of fun in Vegas,” said CSUB student Andrew Hernandez, a junior criminal justice major. 

Throughout the games, there were many times when you could tell the fans made a difference.  

The second overtime of the UC Irvine vs Cal State Bakersfield game was nearing the end. There was one special moment where all the fans were on their feet as the clock was ticking down with the game tied. It seemed the game was headed for a third overtime, but just as it looked like the quarter was coming to a close, CSUB senior guard, Taylor Caldwell, crossed the opposing team, causing the player to hit the ground before hitting the shot that gave CSUB the lead and eventual win.  

CSUB student Luis Herrera, a senior business major, said, “It was intense. It was honestly glorious. It was a shocking experience to see Irvine tie the game and make us go into double overtime. Fortunately, we were the better team and we got to beat the number 1 seed.” 

The CSUB student fan experience in Vegas was unlike any other. The fans were loud and the teams came ready to put on a show every game. It was an experience that couldn’t be traded for anything in the world.