3 Things I Learned from Watching Georgia Tech Basketball
Laugh at me if you will, but I am proud to support the unranked 13-17 Georgia Tech Men's Basketball team. Support to me means buying tickets, attending home games, and cheering them on win or lose. Why would I do such a thing? The better question could be, why would anyone buy season tickets to a 13-17 team year after year? More important than winning or losing is loyalty.
Here are my top three observations from attending 34 of 39 home games within the past 2 seasons of GT Men's Basketball.
Every home game, GT Athletics features a long-time season ticket holder. These season ticket holders range from 17 to 30 years of consecutive season ticket purchases. That's longer than a lot of marriages. There are about 20 home games per season within a 3-4 month time span; I've met married couples that spent less time together. I am personally stunned and in awe at the fan loyalty. I often ask season ticket holders that I meet (unofficial survey) why they continue to buy season tickets year after year, for some it is a group event with their friends, others just loyalty to their alma mater, but they all had one thing in common: HOPE. Every season ticket holder honestly believed that the GT Men's Basketball team would not only get better, but rise to tournament contenders. For the record, 2004 was the first and only time the GT men played for the national championship game. Our last appearance in the NCAA tournament was in 2010 under the direction of Coach Paul Hewitt. In sports, as in business, LOYALTY MATTERS. Appreciate your loyal employees and show loyalty to your employees.
My cousins Tracy and Doug Vaughn recognized as the "Season Ticket Holders" of the game on January 22, 2019.
Students from the home team love to heckle the opposing team’s players.
If an opposing player throws one “air ball,” for the rest of the game, his nickname becomes, “air ball,” and there’s nothing he can do to change that. He could hit five 3-pointers in a row, and the students will still be chanting air ball every time he's dribbling the ball for the rest of the game. This is probably my favorite part of attending games. All in good fun.
Student Athletes are NOT Professional Athletes
As we're cheering for our team, we need to keep in mind that these are student athletes, not professional athletes. 99.9% of student athletes are here to pursue a college degree. They are trying to balance homework, mid-terms, and finals with practices, travel and games. And it's not just the athletes themselves, how about cheerleaders and dance squad that devote so much of their time to our game experience? In case you're wondering, here are the official NCAA promotional guidelines.
For professional athletes, that's their full-time job, but student athletes are there to pursue a degree and hopefully earn a shiny "white and gold" Georgia Tech diploma at the end.
Georgia Tech is my team. Win or Lose. There's no turning back now. Go Jackets.