There are legendary nights that go down in Rutgers basketball lore.
If you’re old enough, you still have the ringing in your ears. If you’re too young, you only know the stories.
Night when the RAC was the Rutgers Athletic Center, but instead a medieval torture device that made opponents quake in their high tops. Made coaches have to write out their instructions instead of shouting them.
Rutgers vs. Penn State in 1989.
Rutgers vs. UConn in 2004.
These the kinds of nights where the old lady was so loud, librarians preferred to work in airplane hangers. Where you couldn’t hear what the person sitting next to you said, and if that person mentioned anything about building a “new arena” you didn’t want to hear them.
For too long she has remained dormant. Sometimes she has begun to mutter or maybe yawned—kind of stirring at some big moments. But those moments, especially over the past thirteen years have been fleeting. For example, the energy in the building for the 2017 Seton Hall game was there, but the fandom wasn’t sure yet. The game was important, but not over-the-top important. The building jumped and jived, but it didn’t howl. Not yet.
Last year, five sold out games—the building was loud. But not loud with a capital L. Nothing with how the games turned out.
Seton Hall this year? Yeah, the building had that old buzz. That familiar feel that something important was happening and for the first four minutes of the game, the place rattled and hummed. But, by the time it could reach a crescendo, the game was out of hand and the result was never it doubt. They noise never got a chance to build.
Tuesday night has a chance to be one of those signature nights of the RAC. One of those games where the next morning, coffee is replaced by tea and honey. As I am typing this, there are 438 tickets left until a sellout. Those tickets will go.
Penn State will be a top 20 team. And, hey, who knows? Maybe the Scarlet Knights will get a couple of votes. And now Rutgers has a chance to start 3-1 in the Big Ten. The stakes are there.
But this is one of those big games. So, if you’re going to be there? You need to bring the energy and bring the force. The RAC can’t just stir in her sleep anymore. The RAC needs to come alive. It needs to rumble, and shake.
Mike Watkins and Lamar Stevens need to be shaken up by this. Pat Chambers can’t be allowed to call out a play.
The old die hards remember what it was like. But the recent fans? You ain’t seen nothing like this.
It’s time for the old girl to wake up.
There’s too much on the line now.
Make the RAC rock.