September 2, 2006
A new sports season kicked off at the new arena in Charlottesville Saturday evening.
The day's game against Pittsburgh may have only been on big screen televisions, but don't tell that to the fans at the John Paul Jones Arena. They were ready to cheer on the Cavs any way they could.
"It's so much better to be here than be at home on your bed watching it on TV," said Bonnie Tyler, who was decked out in orange and blue.
Tyler and a few thousand other Cavalier fans felt that way. So they headed out to the arena to watch UVa. face off against Pittsburgh on "Hoo-Vision."
"We really wanted to reach back," explained Devin Crosby, the Assistant Athletics Director at the University. "We have the best fans in the country, we really do believe that here in Charlottesville at UVa. These are the best fans and we need to reward our fans."
That meant free parking, free admission, and open seating. Concession stands and merchandise were also for sale inside. It was all to kick off a new season in a new home.
"This is gonna be electric atmosphere," said Crosby enthusiastically. "There may be more excitement here than there is in Pittsburgh."
Crosby might have been right. Tyler was one of the best examples we found Saturday.
"I can't believe it, it's just wonderful," said Tyler. She jokingly said, "no, I'm not excited." Then she shouted, "Yes, I am!"
Athletes were also on-hand signing autographs for fans, with the sports season getting into full swing. Players from a number of teams were looking forward to a great year.
"I'm excited and I'm hoping the fans are excited as well," said Siedah Williams, a member of the Women's Basketball Team. "It's gonna be great, I mean it's gonna be an awesome year this year, so I hope they're ready for it."