VCU's "Stripe the Stu" event for the Rams Jan. 9 contest with Dayton.

VCU’s “Stripe the Stu” event for the Rams Jan. 9 contest with Dayton.

I’m thankful my journalism degree prepared me for moments like this, when I can rely on those four-and-a-halfish years of schooling to appropriately describe the world happening around me. So here it is, my expert journalistic summary of last night’s atmosphere for VCU’s first Atlantic 10 Conference game:

Wow.

I bet you’re happy you read this blog for that expert insight. In all seriousness, I’m not sure I can do much better than “Wow”.  In case you have been marooned on a deserted island (or in Montana) for the last 48 hours, our cracked marketing team orchestrated the “Stripe The Stu” promotion last night, which blanketed the Siegel Center in black and gold t-shirts and even spelled out “VCU” and “Rams” in the crowd.

Most of us here in athletics loved the idea, but wondered how the event would look in execution mode. Would people actually wear the shirts? They did, by the way, and it looked incredible. But the effect wasn’t just visual. You could sense that people assumed ownership of the moment. When you mixed the vivid imagery with a feverish intensity that rivaled most March do-or-die contests, what you had was a stew of excitement as good as any in the building’s 14-year history. I’ve been to almost every home game VCU has played since 2005-06, and I’ll put last night’s atmosphere up against any of them. RVANews.com, which has smartly been tracking the decibel levels in the Siegel Center this season, said Wednesday’s game recorded the loudest reading of the year, 109 decibels. I can’t tell you how that compares historically, but I’m willing to take my chances.

I realize that duplicating that effort night in and and night out will be a challenge, but it’s my hope that the fans understand their role in the Rams’ success. Shaka Smart and the players do.

“It’s crazy man. I feel like we have the best fans in America,” senior Troy Daniels said following the Rams’ 74-62 win. “Dayton wasn’t just playing against 12 players, they were playing against the whole Siegel Center.”

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