It’s us against the world
UCLA coach Ben Howland told ESPN that the Bruins have to get ready for some serious abuse when they’re on their road trip this January. Howland explained that “They’re going to yell nasty things at you. Get used to that.” Before elaborating, “In reality, it’s different. It’s us against the world. They’ve all played road games, but not a road game like you do in college because it’s bigger crowds.”
The Bruins have had a good run of late, for the last seven games at least, but will they be able to keep their game together while they’re on the road? So far the Bruins haven’t had much experience of proper road games as most of the games out of state have been played in neutral locations. This time they are in for a lot of travel: flying, coach rides and a lot of hanging around playing partycasino.com and sudoku to while away the hours of hanging around.
It’s not the boredom that will get to the team though. It’s the vicious crowds, the lack of Bruin-istas, the sheer isolation of playing away from home. This is made even worse by their games zig-zagging across the country. After games in Utah and Colorado, they fly over to Oregon, and then down to Arizona, after a quick battle against the most hated ones, then up to Washington state. Zig, Zag, Zig-zag.
There is an additional issue with the first two games: Altitude. You might ask what that has got to do with it, but FIFA, the ruling body in soccer, has actually made a decision that international matches should not be played over 8,200 ft (that’s 2,500 metres) as it gives the home teams too much of an advantage. Hopefully this shouldn’t be too much of a problem as Boulder is 5,430 feet above sea level and the Rice-Eccles Stadium is 4,657 feet above sea level. Thankfully this makes the stadia considerably lower than those in the Andes where t Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia supposedly get their advantage.