|Inside the Crown Jewel of Illinois State University|
|Written by Daily Vidette Sports Columnist, Kevin Schneider|
|Tuesday, 07 December 2010 23:52|
As you walk through the campus of Illinois State University in the distance you can see a huge snow-capped mountain. It looks big and it looks intimidating. It appears to be rumbling like some sort of an active volcano.
When you get closer you realize that this giant work of art is not a mountain, it is Redbird Arena. The rumbling is not from the eruptions of molten hot lava, but rather the eruptions from thousands of cheering fans.
The glow that comes from the Teflon-covered roof of Redbird Arena on a game night has caused many to refer to it as the “crown jewel” of athletic facilities. Redbird Arena seats up to 10,200 excited fans. The facility is widely known for being a very clean and comfortable environment.
Redbird Arena has been home to Redbird basketball and volleyball since 1989. It is the second biggest college sports arena in the state of Illinois.
One of the most famous athletes ever to play for ISU is Doug Collins. Collins played basketball for the Redbirds in the early 1970s. After ISU, he won a silver medal playing for the United States in the 1972 Olympics, and the next year Collins was made the first pick in the NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Collins had a very impressive career playing for Philadelphia, and since his playing days, he has held NBA head coaching jobs as well as analyst jobs for NBA games.
Because of all these accomplishments, ISU decided to name the basketball court inside Redbird Arena after Collins as Doug Collins Court.
Since Redbird Arena is such a nice facility, it has been host to many Illinois High School Association (IHSA) events and state tournaments.
When I walk into Redbird Arena I do feel like it is a professional arena because it is so big. It really is very comfortable and a great place to watch a game. While the physical aspects of the arena are great, it is something else that makes redbird Arena so special.
What makes Redbird Arena this way is the “boiling hot lava,” and the rumble you can hear roaring throughout campus. Of course I am talking about the fans.
Just simply being at a basketball game at Redbird Arena you can feel the electricity buzzing from wall to wall. The student section is always cheering and chanting. The athletes deserve a lot of support for what they do and they get that support from the fans at Redbird Arena.
ISU students always show up to the games early to show their support. It is a very electrifying building both inside and out, and the fans know that the sea of red they create is intimidating to opponents. You can almost feel a gust of wind when the fans wave the red rally towels during a basketball game.
I love going to Redbird Arena to watch sporting events. The building is great and the atmosphere is even better. It may be a bit of a walk especially now in the dead of winter and that biting cold wind may be brutal, but the walk over to the arena to see a game is definitely worth it.
For those who have never been to a game or seen the inside of the arena, you really should check it out. And to those dedicated supporters, thank you for making the atmosphere at Redbird Arena so electrifying. So next time you see that glow coming from Redbird Mountain be sure to head over and help make it rumble.