The Bigger Picture: An Unusual Audience for an Unusual Time

February 26, 2021 By Caroline Newman, Caroline Newman,

The energy John Paul Jones Arena might have felt a little flat during the University of Virginia men’s basketball game against North Carolina State University on Wednesday, but fans were there in spirit.

University photographer Sanjay Suchak snapped this photo of the “crowd” – more than 1,300 cardboard cutouts of fans’ smiling faces – during the game, which the Hoos lost, 68-61. Public health protocols have greatly restricted the number of people in the audience for this year’s basketball games, and on Wednesday even the players’ families could not attend during a period of increased restrictions to slow a spike in COVID-19 cases at UVA.

The cutouts stood in their place, representing pets, babies and fans young and old, ordered from more than 35 states plus the District of Columbia. Each one is a silent reminder of all who wish they could be in JPJ during this most unusual of seasons.

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