Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

As basketball season arrives, Maryland fans are eager for return to Xfinity Center

By Josh Caplan

Ryan Goodman’s last memory of Maryland basketball was lining up at 10 A.M. for College Gameday, waiting to go sit in on the famous ESPN pregame show, and later that evening watch the Terps take on the Michigan State Spartans. That was over a year and a half ago. Now a junior, Goodman says he’s ready to go back. 

“The atmosphere that day was crazy,” Goodman said, “and I’m looking forward to getting back to that.”

However, University of Maryland students live in a different day and age than they did when College Gameday was in town. With the coronavirus still present, a mask mandate for indoor venues has been extended in Prince George’s County until December 9th, according to a resolution passed by the county council. But Goodman doesn’t think that’ll affect the student attendance.

“I think that people are kind of used to it at this point,” Goodman said, “especially since we’ve had to wear them in classes for two months now.”

The pandemic has also made it so that sophomores like Steven Barron have yet to even experience the student’s section in the Xfinity Center yet. However, with over 98 percent of individuals on the campus vaccinated along with declining positivity rates according to the UMD Covid-19 Dashboard, Barron will get that chance this winter. 

Although he’s been coming to games since he was a kid, he says he’s looking forward to the atmosphere, even if it means he has to wear a mask.

“We are one of the best student sections in the country,” Barron explained, “and I feel like personally, [the mask mandate] won’t stop me and other students from going to the games and cheering.”

Barron also said with the Terps being ranked in the preseason Top-25 by nearly every media outlet, he’s just excited to be able to finally have a great student experience and a good team on the court as well.

Laurel Dietrick, a junior neuroscience major and director of recruitment for Maryland’s official student fan organization, The Pride, says she’s been waiting for the day where she can go back inside the Xfinity Center and take a break from everything else.

“We all put aside our classes, our grades, our midterms, all of that stuff for just two hours of the night when thousands of us come together to cheer on our favorite team.”

According to Maryland men’s basketball head coach Mark Turgeon on Twitter, around four thousand tickets so far have been claimed by students for each of the first four games of the season, including an exhibition against Fayetteville State on November 5th. That game will mark the first men’s basketball game with students in stands in 599 days. 

The student’s section will be filled with some students, who like Steven Barron, have yet to experience Maryland basketball as students. Dietrick says she has one piece of advice for them.

“Get into it.”

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