Whenever I look back on my earliest days at Gannon University, I’m always amazed by the tiniest of details that really impacted how my last four years have gone. From the location of a freshman dorm room to the singing of a certain song, the little things can truly modify someone’s experience.

For example, I can thank a football jersey for changing my life.

Back in 2007, I had made my choice to attend Gannon. I was getting ready to depart from Cleveland for summer orientation in Erie when I decided to don my Ozzie Newsome Browns jersey. I’m a diehard Cleveland sports fan, so I figured that I could risk wearing my Ohio pride on my shoulders in Pennsylvania.

Early on in the orientation process, our group was standing around in the Zurn Science Center, waiting for whatever the next phase in the program was. The majority of the people remained quiet, still nervous around these brand-new, soon-to-be fellow students. After a few awkward minutes, a Pittsburgh-area native by the name of Jacob Nemchick approached me. I still remember the first words he said to me.

“Well, if you’re wearing a Browns jersey in Pennsylvania, you must at least be a sports fan.”

We immediately hit it off, discussing various sports at length – a conversation that never would have started if it weren’t for my last-minute decision to wear my jersey. The next day we filled out the papers for living arrangements.

Jake and I have been roommates ever since.

To this day, we laugh about how our rival teams ended up bringing us together. People from back home in Cleveland still ask about what it’s like to be surrounded by so many fans of different teams, since Erie is essentially smack-dab in the middle of Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. The sports freak in me loves it. I find it fascinating to be able to hear different takes from the various followings. The same spiel can get boring after a while.

It’s not just Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo, however. Several teams have sizable followings, including a sect of Green Bay Packers fans, which made Super Bowl XLV quite exciting to watch. Just being around the various fans makes so many of the games more interesting. Even if I don’t root for either team, I can still be invested in the outcome for my friends’ sake.

Sports can really bring students together. Some of my fondest memories at Gannon revolve around watching “the big game.” From when the Cleveland Indians proved victorious over the New York Yankees in the 2007 MLB American League Division Series to when Maxime Talbot’s two-goal Game Seven performance gave the Pittsburgh Penguins the 2009 Stanley Cup, I’m happy to say that I spent them with my friends and their differing jerseys.

Everybody may root for different clubs, but we’re all on the same team at Gannon.

Are you interested in finding other ways to meet GU Students? Check out 10 Ways to Meet People on Campus.