|Trinity was recognized in 1998 for 10 Spurs Nights|
I have a deep connection to the Trinity Night at the Spurs program, as I started it in 1989 - probably before my accuser was born. That first program was also met with unhappiness from a Trinitonian reviewer at the time. After 23 years and three arenas, I think the program is safe and sound. And maybe that's why this is one of those times I want to box out, if you will.
The first couple years of the program students paid $3 for tickets to games at the old Hemisfair Arena. I think the first three opponents we played were the Bucks, Hawks, and Cavaliers. I loved that old arena and the teams were not very good yet, but there was optimism on the horizon as the city awaited the arrival of David Robinson. The program board and Residence Halls Office planned a pre-game tailgate (hot dog, chips, and lemonade) and offered transportation to and from the arena. We rented double-decker buses and the Coyote even came to campus for the pre-game activities.
Tim Derk, a Trinity grad) was provided a different Trinity t-shirt each year that he would wear under his warm-up and then flash at mid-court at some point in the game. He would also come to the upper-deck to cheer on the Trinity crowd. The penultimate game was a 1999 nationally televised game against the Houston Rockets, won on a last-second Mario Elie three-pointer. Incidentally, that was the year the Spurs won their first of four titles.
I became a huge Spurs fan from the second I arrived in San Antonio in 1987. It was always important to me to find ways to share the Spurs love with our students. In the early years there were incentives for those who coordinated group sales. I still have an autographed ball from the first time I did the program. They also used to give lower level seats for a certain number of tickets sold. Those were always shared with the RAs who sold the most tickets.
Now, in the smaller AT&T Center, we can't get those mega groups. Gone are the days of bus transportation and tailgates (students wanted to just go on their own). We do a small fall and spring program when possible - selling around 200 tickets each time. That's the highest number we can get. To accommodate our fans from the Houston and Dallas areas, we try to schedule those teams when possible. it was dumb luck that we scheduled the New York Knicks - and Jeremy Lin - this spring. Residential Life sold the tickets and announced the sales through table tents, banners, LeeRoy and more.
So why someone called foul on me is beyond me, really. Over time, I have probably earned the privilege to some decent seats. But that isn't the point of the program. It's more about the thousands of students who have had access to see an exceptional franchise, in some great games, in some exciting venues. As we head into our 24th year of the program next year,that should be the focus. It will be for me - regardless of where I sit.