SPOKANE, Wash. — Watching games in Gonzaga University's Kennel is a right of passage for Gonzaga students. Picking out the best red and blue Zags gear, grabbing popcorn chicken and settling in shoulder to shoulder with 1,200 of your closest friends.
The Zags student section is notoriously known nationwide as one of the loudest student sections. When visiting teams play in the McCarthy Athletic Center, they know it’s going to be hectic.
The madness even starts before the game with students stomping to Zombie Nation's "Kernkraft 400," then the Kennel becomes constant chants and cheering for every basket and Corey Kispert three pointer.
But this year, the craziness of the Kennel stopped, and the silence was deafening. It was up to the Kennel Club Board to try and bring that game time magic back to campus.
With that need came the idea for Tent City: the Remix. It’s a take on the usual tent city, but with a COVID-19 safety twist.
“Coming into this year I just wanted to extend that tradition even though it’s a completely out of ordinary year,” said Kennel Club Tent City Coordinator. Daniel Kireopoulos,
In a normal basketball season when it’s a game against a top opponent, students will camp out in order to secure a spot in the Kennel come game time.
A few days before the game the Kennel club sends out a tweet to where people can get their tent number. As soon as the tweet goes out at 12:15 p.m., a usually calm campus turns into chaos.
Bulldog Alley becomes full of students sprinting in either direction to secure their place in line in hopes of getting tent number one.
Securing tent number one means getting to stand front row in the student section and be up close with the game.
The odds are, the closer someone gets to the front, the more chances they have to make it on the big screen.
On Wednesday, a Kennel Club game tweet went out for the first time in over a year to give Zags a chance to watch a game together.
In the tweet was a registration for Tent City: the Remix. Within at least 2 minutes all spots were claimed.
With COVID-19 restrictions, only 35 what would be tent spots are available to groups of six.
For those lucky enough to secure a spot, set up starts at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Foley field.
All spots will be 10 feet apart and everyone will be asked to stay with their individual group.
In normal tent city fashion, individually wrapped breakfast burritos and hot chocolate will be provided.
To add to the magic of students cheering on the Zags together, there will be guest performances from the Gonzaga cheer team, Bomb Squad, and Dance team.
Starting at tip-off at 6:20pm, the game will be projected on a twenty-six-foot screen. Tent City: The Remix did not happen overnight, the approval process started in February.
It might have taken a while, but the Kennel Board tent city coordinator said its all worth it.
“Finally being able to come together as a group, obviously not as big as we would and everyone can’t be there, but at least it’s something to do where that Gonzaga spirit can be influxuated throughout campus.” said Kireopoulos.
In a season unlike any other—for the first time in over a year zags can finally cheer on their team together in the big dance.