“Blackout” is Back!

by Jody Godoy ’05

They started filling the Richard and Vivian Felix Event Center around 5 p.m. on the evening of Tuesday, January 14. Clad in monochrome bandanas and shirts, the students massed like quicksilver into a single body of fanatic energy on the eastern bleachers of the gym. “Blackout” is back.

The goal is simple: pack the stands and sidelines at the basketball game with fans clad in black in support of APU’s Cougars.

Tuesday night’s “Blackout” began with the women’s game against Biola University, which was attended by more than 1,200 fans. “We have a phenomenal women’s team,” said Campus Pastor Chris Brown. “They play with just as much heart as the guys.”

Brown knows the players enjoy seeing faculty and administration in the stands, and attends around 80 percent of the Cougars’ home games. But for Chris, attending the games is “just as much about the people in the stands as the ones on the court.” When asked what he thinks about the rivalry between Biola and APU, he said that when kept reasonable, “it’s fun and awesome to see how it gels the student body.”

Campus Safety officer Mark McKay ’05 said that he likes the rivalry when it doesn’t get out of hand. When people control themselves, he said, the tension makes things “fun and more competitive. It's good because it adds to the energy of the game.”

For student leader Dave Wallace ’05, the best part of the game is seeing so many students together. Wallace is a seasoned fan; for him, the rivalry between Biola and APU goes way back. “I grew up on APU vs. Biola games,” Wallace said, remembering matches held in the Cougar Dome with fans packing the gym and standing in crowds even outside the doors.

Kevin Tasker, a Biola freshman, came to root for his team. He said that he hoped the Eagles would win, but that he just wanted to “see a good game.” If this enthusiasm of underclassmen from both schools is any indication, the rivalry between APU and Biola, as well as the “Blackout” tradition, should be long and healthy.