In part one of our Fanthropology series we asked you to tell your stories of how you became a fan of the Colorado Buffaloes. What resulted was a fantastic set of comments that were equal parts hopeful and inspring (seriously, go check it out if you haven't already). I could only choose one person to advance from the to the second part and it was an extremely hard choice because of so many great answers.
I finally settled on Phil Fraser for two main reasons, because of his long-standing commitment to the program and his passion in following all Buffaloes athletics. Phil and I then set-off on an email discussion to find out a bit more about his love of the Buffs.
The reason I selected you to advance over all of the other fantastic answers that we received was two-fold, passion and commitment. Talk about your commitment to this University and it's athletic programs through thick and thin and what that means to you.
Phil: My commitment to the University of Colorado is centered around one significant thing - I am not a fan of the Buffaloes; I AM a Colorado Buffalo. For whatever reason, I chose to be a Buffalo the same as any player on the field, court or track. That's what binds us all as Buffs, and what draws me to root for them through thick and thin. Their victories are my victories, and their losses are my losses. Because we're all in this together. It's what separates us from professional sports fans. No one donates blindly to the Denver Broncos, but I donate to the Buffaloes because I want to see better things from all of our athletes who represent my university, and by proxy ME when they compete. I take pride in everything they do, despite the fact that I can't run, jump, kick, or throw to their level. They represent the generations of Buffaloes tailgating on Franklin Field as seniors and walking out with our soccer team as kindergartners.
Talk to me about the rebirth (or even birth) of the Colorado basketball program under Tad Boyle and what that means to you. When you see the rise of the basketball program and think back to the years and years of struggle, how does that effect your frustration with the current state of the football program and your hopes for a revival?
Phil: Given the state of our football program, I can't even speak to what the basketball program means to me. "Breath of fresh air" is far too insignificant. Frankly, I think that I (and a lot of the fan base) am putting too many expectations on basketball, just because we all need something to be successful. Tad Boyle has been fantastic in providing not only a winning product on the court, but an exciting product for which we want to root. Coach Bzdelik might've eventually put a winning team on the floor, but his offense treated the paint as if it was lava. It wasn't fun to watch. Coach Boyle (and Coach Lappe to a lesser extent) have proven that we can succeed at Colorado with the resources we have, as well as put an exciting product on the floor we can be proud of.
Talk a little bit about which of the different CU sports you follow. How do you follow each of them?
Phil: I follow all CU sports, however I can. Mostly it's via twitter and cubuffs.com. The Pac 12 network helps there, (but hurts for football and basketball, since I have DirecTV). I've been to soccer live both home and away, volleyball both home and away, the men's club lacrosse team home and away, and cross country. I'm also committed to tennis in January, I think. Although the conference realignment is maddening, it's worked out well for me and allowed me to watch my teams more than ever since I'm here in Los Angeles.
Taking away your personal story a bit, what is it that makes the University of Colorado such a special place? How would you sell it to someone who had never been?
Phil: Our campus is simply gorgeous. Boulder is a fantastic town in which to live. I can't obviously say that my brother chose to go to CU without my influence, but he did. I live in Los Angeles - Southern California is beautiful, and offers plenty of high quality educational choices, and yet many students in the area choose to migrate to Boulder to go to school. It speaks to the education, to the area, and to the opportunities that the University of Colorado offers that make it so attractive. I don't need to sell the university. The university sells itself. That was true for my own brother, and it's true for others. It's great to be a Buff.
Finally, what would you like to see from the Buffs basketball team in the 2012-13 season and Buffs football in 2013. Within reason of course.
Phil: I don't wish for anything beyond respectability at this point. For all of our programs. I just want to feel like we belong in the Pac 12. Obviously we're already there in men's basketball. But we need to be there in every program, from soccer to track to football. We need to prove that we belong. We need football to be competitive to prove that we're more than a television market, but we need to prove our worth in all of our sports.
Realistically, I want to see the Buffs dominate in basketball, to the tune of a top three finish and helping our RPI as a conference. I want to see our women's basketball team make the NCAA tournament. And I want to see our football team put up a fight in every game we play, regardless of their record. If we do all of that, I'm going to feel good about our program going forward.
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