SAN JOSE, Calif. – Proving yourself as a Gonzaga fan could be as simple as being the first fan inside the arena on game day.
Well, that’s what Eric Wade and Tyler Dow would argue.
The two Gonzaga fans were the first spectators to enter the arena Thursday after waiting outside the building for the majority of the afternoon.
Wade and Dow showed up to the SAP Center at about 1 p.m., more than three hours before tipoff time between Gonzaga and West Virginia. Gonzaga won 61-58 to advance to the regional final against Xavier.
But the two admitted they don’t make a habit out of getting to arenas early because they wanted to be the first Gonzaga fans in line. They just thought they’d have seats to sit back and relax in for a few hours.
“We thought we could get in,” said Wade, who is the father of Jesse Wade, a Gonzaga recruit who is due back from his two-year LDS mission in Lyon, France, in 18 days.
The arena didn’t open its doors until about an hour before tipoff, which gave Wade and Dow plenty of time to chat with some other fans who showed up early on accident, too.
“We were trying to get in fights with West Virginia fans,” cracked Dow.
Dow joked that Wade only brought him all the way to California to act as Wade’s body guard when teasing the Mountaineers fans waiting with them in line.
“I’ve been apologizing to West Virginia fans all day today for what oir team’s about to do to them,” Wade said.
But Dow made sure to filter out the Mountaineers fans that had some height on him.
“I was like, ‘No, don’t pick on that one, they’re a little big. Go a little smaller for me,’” Dow laughed.
Wade has had plenty of opportunities this season to tease the GU’s opposing teams. He witnessed the Zags’ only loss when GU fell to BYU in its season finale, and he traveled to Provo, Utah, in the beginning of February when the Zags topped the Cougars 85-75. Wade has also been with the Zags for all of postseason, following them to Las Vegas for the West Coast Conference tournament in the first week of March and was at both opening round matchups last week in Salt Lake City.
Dow has watched the Zags play for the second time on Thursday and in Salt Lake City with Wade last week when Gonzaga faced South Dakota State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
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