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Opinion

Athletic spirit leaves mark

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December 6, 2007

As a freshman at River Falls, I have spent most of my time trying to meet new people and studying for my tests, oh and going home on the weekends.

I know that we have sports teams here, but I never really considered going to any sporting events because I, being a freshman, knew nothing about where to go, or why I should.

To many of my friends and family from back home, this would be a surprise. When I was in high school I attended almost every football game, and basketball game. Here and there I even went to soccer games. I played tennis and softball and even though I was busy in the spring, I even found time to go to track meets.

Because of my attendance and enthusiasm for the love of the game, I was voted “Most Spirit” in high school.,But in college, I wasn’t living up to my former title. I wasn’t aware that even though the teams might not win every game, it was still fun.

Coming to UW-River Falls, I knew that the sports weren’t what this university is known for, but it’s not to say that the athletes, coaches and cheerleaders don’t try.

Homecoming this year was fantastic, or so I heard. I missed the game because I was home that day. Upon my return later that evening, I heard there was a streaker, and that the Falcons kicked Eau Claire’s butt. However, being the young, naive person that I am, I was unaware of how much I truly missed that day.

Recently, I found myself at a woman’s basketball game, the first sporting event that I have attended this year. Upon entering Karges, from the back parking lot, I found myself unaware of where to go (and I know other freshman feel the exact same way). Once I finally found my way to the gym, I entered and quickly found a spot to sit and watch.

The first thing I did was look around. I saw proud parents, and other adult observers looking on with much interest.

Then I looked to my left and saw a surprisingly high amount of fans cheering on the girls loud and proud.

The fans were not all I noticed. I noticed the players on the bench. All the players on the bench were cheering on their teammates on the court. Now, being a softball player, I know that even when you are on the bench, you are supposed to cheer — it’s called team spirit. But it wasn’t like high school; it was better. Everything about this was more intense than high school. Every player, coach and fan was more involved and committed.

Then I noticed the pep band, which sadly didn’t really play all that much. It was a bit of a disappointment, because I always imagined what a college pep band would be like: loud after every great play, really enthusiastic, which they were. However, they only really played at the half and after the game.

Then I finally decided to settle in and focus on the actual game.

I have never really liked basketball, and therefore never really enjoyed it. Often times when someone doesn’t care for a sport, they don’t understand it, and while that may be a bit true, I know a lot about the game.

So I decided to try to actually enjoy it, and I did.

The determination that each woman had was incredible. It was so great to see everyone working together and make the plays to bank the points.

The opponent that night was Finlandia University, and you could tell that they had no real team chemistry, whereas UWRF did.

I soon found myself cheering and clapping for the players as if I knew them. I soon found myself actually having team spirit.

Before I knew it, the game was over. River Falls killed Finlandia 86-55 and it was amazing to see how everyone reacted. After the game, many fans and parents flooded the floor to give congrats to the players and coaches. It seemed like every player got a pat on the back.

And as the band began to play, and all the people in the gym wore smiling faces, I realized that it wasn’t so bad after all; I could really learn to like college sports here at UWRF.

Lauren Bennett is a student at UW-River Falls.