Do we support Tech sports only if they win … or because we want to support a university that adds to our quality of life?

The opening night for Texas Tech basketball Tuesday was perfect.

United Supermarkets Arena was packed to watch the first men’s Final Four banner unveiled, along with a Big 12 championship banner.

Before that, the sold-out crowd was into it.

A loud version of the Matador Song gave me chills – literally.

The crowd stayed loud and engaged all night, the way a home crowd should to give you a real home court advantage.

The 2019-2020 team beat Eastern Illinois 85-60 and I love when Chris Beard motioned the students onto the floor after the game with the team.

Many of the new players gave me the sense these Red Raiders could make another deep run in the NCAA Tournament in March – and hopefully be playing once again in early April.

Tech came within three seconds of winning a national championship this past spring.

I was a little concerned Tuesday night’s crowd would not fill USA.

Beard told me last season he hopes to see a packed arena not only for conference games against Kansas and Texas – but also in November when the opposition is not a foe with a legendary history or a historic rival.

The legendary programs have packed arenas for every game.

The legendary programs have packed arenas for every game.

Those programs don’t win a national title every year. They sometimes get upset in the first round of the tournament.

But the fans show up consistently.

It makes me wonder, what came first, the wins or the crowds?

And do fans understand how much they help a program by showing up?

It made me wonder another thing – what would happen if 60,000 people showed up at Jones AT&T Stadium Saturday, Nov. 16 when Texas Tech football plays TCU?

Disclosure: I do a number of stories about Texas Tech athletics for the university they are one of my “brand journalism” clients. But what I’m about to say is how I’ve felt when I was still editor of the Avalanche-Journal.

Texas Tech fans need to show up and – to quote Bruno Mars – show out, smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy.

But a lot of Tech fans are like a lot of fans everywhere – if you win it, they’ll come.

If you don’t win, call me when you do.

I even saw it when Mike Leach was the coach. The crowds were not consistent all season.

And what happens later this basketball season and next if the Red Raiders have a disappointing season? (Which I don’t expect.)

You still show up.

You still show up.

Earlier this year I wrote a piece after the national championship game saying we need to fill USA all season and pledged to buy season seats.

I couldn’t get them – sold out.

So I bought football seats for the first time – and bought as many non-conference men’s basketball tickets for games when I would be in town and hope to buy some for conference games if I can get them.

I’ve heard from coaches, players and others at Tech how much a big crowd means for a program. It impresses recruits when they come to visit. Kids want to play for a program that’s supported.

So what comes first, the wins or the crowd?

What if the crowd was a big reason for the wins?

In other words, you can make a difference.

In other words, you can make a difference.

USA should be packed all year to show Chris and his team our appreciation. I hope the crowds grow for the Lady Raiders, too.

But back to football.

What if the Jones was full against TCU with a loud and proud crowd?

What if they won and Matt Wells credited the crowd? What if a top recruit was visiting that weekend and the crowd sold him on coming to Tech?

I know people right now who won’t support Tech football because the team is 3-5.

Understood – but think about it this way.

Do we support Tech sports only when they win or do we support Tech sports because having the university in Lubbock adds to our quality of life?

What would Lubbock be without Texas Tech?

What would Lubbock be without Texas Tech?

Amarillo?

Midland?

Odessa?

Abilene?

Turkey?

Wink?

Perish the thought!

Why should we support Tech sports?

Because when they win we feel better?

Or because we want to support a university that adds to our quality of life?

I’m getting really tired of people who won’t support the football team because they’re not at an elite level right now.

I’m getting tired of people who won’t support the football team because they’re still upset about Mike Leach.

Get over it … it’s a decade later.

Get over it – it’s a decade later.

Mike was fun. I had lunch with him once and it was a hoot. And he gave me the idea for the great Lubbock Magazine cover in 2008 with Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree serving lunch to their offensive line to go with a story on tailgating.

His teams were entertaining. He still has a load of fans here and always will.

But Mike never won a national title. His teams never played in – back then – a BCS game. They never won an outright Big 12 crown.

And heading into this weekend, his Washington State Cougars are only 4-4, but should make a bowl game.

Do we support Tech sports only when we feel they deserve it?

Or do we support Tech sports because we want to show support for a university that makes this place a better place to live – and in so many ways beyond sports?

It’s really not a hard choice, is it?

Show up.