It’s finally playoff time at Harder Stadium, and if you’re reading this, you’d better be extremely excited. In the past 16 years, UCSB has made the transition from showcasing a mediocre football team to become a futból powerhouse, and that means epic postseason games are consistently played every year. Better yet, with both the men’s and women’s teams going off this year, we are lucky enough to have two awesome matchups this week. To make things even sweeter, both games are against rival Cal Poly.
Harder is hands-down the best venue for watching college soccer in the country. Just as our squads step their games up once they enter the November playoffs, so do the fans. Tonight is “Beat the Record” night, and we get the chance to prove that we have the best fan base in the U.S. by setting a new NCAA attendance record. I have faith that we will, simply because the Gaucho faithful always seem to turn up in huge number for big games. Plus, the ridiculous amount of hype the Athletic Dept. has pushed for the game should probably help. With our men hungry to destroy Poly after a tough weekend, this game is going to get brutal. Trust me, the hype will be worth it.
Thursday night the Gaucho women take the field, and if you haven’t seen these gals play, you’re missing out. We have one of the fittest squads around, and they take full advantage of it with an aggressive attacking play that is truly fun to watch. Their last match saw four goals find the net; that kind of soccer is what a fan dreams for. With four players in the top ten of Big West scoring, there are sure to be some fireworks on Thursday. Get out and give the team some love, because they always step it up for the home crowd.
Aside from the fact that we have two absolutely bad-ass teams suiting up for playoffs, these are the games that get locked in Gaucho folklore forever. Rushing the field with thousands of fellow SB crazies on multiple occasions are memories that top almost anything in my college career, and I know I’m not the only one that feels that way. To see the looks on the faces of opposing players when they see 12,000 fans screaming their faces off when they are used to a couple hundred at their home pitch is positively priceless. I’ll certainly never forget the line judge two years ago who picked up a tortilla that hit him, feigned anger at the crowd, and then winked and started eating it. In what other arena could something like that happen?
The bottom line is that, while school can get undeniably hectic, midterms aren’t going to be what you remember about your time here at UCSB. Hell, with the way we booze it outside of class, you might not end up remembering anything at all. Either way, games like this week’s make UCSB what it is, and I definitely hope you’ll all get after it to go big with Gaucho pride.