MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – (December 14, 2020) – In a year where crowds would take a back seat, sports fans are experiencing something they have never seen before with empty arenas during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.
The WVU Coliseum is no exception to this as WVU Athletics announced that there would be no fans during December.
The once loud and electric atmosphere that the coliseum has hosted for over the last 50 years is now an eerie, empty arena with cut-outs of fans flooding the seats.
As you walk into the coliseum in 2020, it sounds just like any other pre-game for basketball. Modern rap music blasts through the speakers as both teams are shooting around.
You sit there as the clock ticks down to triple-zeroes and you’re expecting to see West Virginia fans show up to cheer on their Mountaineers, but they never file in.
As the Mountaineers officially take the court for lay-up lines, there’s not 14,000 fans on their feet to cheer on as the players run out of the locker room.
There’s no carpet to roll out for the starting line-ups since the cheerleaders aren’t present.
Finally, on a positive note, the Mountaineer is still in attendance shooting off his rifle after each half.
Once the game begins, it feels like a scrimmage. When the opposing team has the ball, there’s no student section roaring to try to create as much noise as possible. When WVU makes an exciting dunk or block, there isn’t anybody but their teammates to collectively scream in celebration of the great play.
In 2020, you hear normal noises from basketball games such as shoes squeaking on the floor, basketballs making contact with the hardwood, referees blowing their whistles and the sound of the buzzer.
You also hear stuff you don’t ever hear at basketball games like piped in fan noise that sounds like it’s been taken from a sports video game that comes out of the speaker majority of the game. It’s the same loop over and over.
One sound that is consistent, but you can hear louder than ever is future Hall of Famer Bob Huggins lighting into his team after they make a bonehead mistake.
During every media timeout at the coliseum this season, all you can hear is coach Huggins yelling and cursing at his players as his voice echoes throughout the building. If you’re lucky, you can hear the clipboard that gets thrown at the ground as well. You have got to love Huggs.
As John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is played through the speakers, that’s all you hear. There’s not one soul to join in and sing along with Denver.
The Coronavirus pandemic has taken away what is the great atmosphere in the sport of college basketball.
The Mountaineers have handled the situation of having no home-court advantage without the Mountaineer faithful going 2-0 at home thus far.
WVU junior forward Derek Culver thinks the team is already used to not playing in front of crowds.
“To be honest, it reminded us of practice,” Culver said. “Other than the communication from the players on the court and the coaches, there wasn’t really too much noise in the background.”
“With that being said, we’re pretty used to it,” Culver added.
As times are unique right now, hopefully soon enough West Virginia fans can get together in the WVU Coliseum and cheer on their beloved basketball team, united as one