The Arizona Wildcats have played their way into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA men's basketball...
Wildcat Fever Widespread
Thousands upon thousands of people attended Homecoming events over the weekend, and some of them are in no way directly affiliated with the UA but support the institution nonetheless.
This was the first year that Iran-born Niloofar Hubrich and her Canadian husband attended Homecoming events at the University of Arizona.
Hubrich said that while she and her husband spent time in the South – both their alma maters are southern institutions – the two have been making a point of attending UA-sponsored events.
"It's one of those things where you get drawn in," Hubrich said, adding that one of her friends was participating in the Homecoming parade. "But since we moved here, we decided to be a little bit more supportive of the UA, especially since we cannot be part of our universities."
Their story, like those of numerous others on campus Saturday, show that you do not have to be a UA student, faculty, staff member or alumni to have an affinity for the UA.
It's the same for Terry Saragosa and brothers, Alex and Konrad Ottleben. The three have been attending UA events for years, especially Homecoming and Wildcat games.
"I like the team, and it's a lot of fun," said Saragosa, who has known the Ottlebens since they were small children.
All aggreed: They feel that they are, in a sense, de facto Wildcats.
"I really like the UA," said Alex Ottleben, 12, adding that he especially enjoys Homecoming.
His brother, who is 14-years-old, said he also is drawn to the athletic teams and has been inspired by the football team and the encouragement of his friends to try out football.
Friends Lillian Hanna and Hannah Parish attend Homecoming and support the team for similar reasons.
Both of them play sports and musical instruments, which are reasons why they said they are drawn to the athletic teams – football, soccer and hockey being among them, and also the the band members and cheerleaders. And standing on the UA Mall in their UA T-shirt and sweater, both said they intend to be Wildcats someday.
"This is the place to be yourself, and I like that," said Hanna, 12.
While this was only Hanna's second Homecoming, Parish has been attending since before she was born – her mother attended a Homecoming while pregnant with her and has attended most every year since.
"It's important to go because I live in Tucson, and I want to support the UA," said Paris, 11.
"And it's important for fans to support the team," she added. "I think it's better that way because it can't just be the UA students who come."