I’ve decided to kick off the first official segment of “Senior Moments” with some good ol’ fashioned Gannon University athletics. As I’ve stated in previous articles where I discuss athletic endeavors, I know absolutely nothing about sports. In fact, the only basketball games that have ever interested me included either singing high school students or Micheal Jordan and Looney Toons. Despite last year’s success of the Lady Knights basketball team, I have shamefully never attended a single game. I thought to myself, “It’s your senior year. You can’t go through your entire college career without attending a single GU athletics event.” So, I convinced fellow Edge contributor Adam Miller to go to an upcoming Lady Knights basketball game with me, promising him a free hot dog or two.
With Adam in tow, placated by free hot dogs, we set off on our mission. We chose to attend the Pink Zone game against Slippery Rock on January 23. Unbeknownst to us, this game was actually a special collaboration with Gannon athletics and community outreach programs to raise awareness for breast cancer prevention and research. So, safe to say the game was packed.
Adam and I scuttled into the Hammermill arena shortly after the singing of the National Anthem. Trying to act like we came to basketball games all the time, we found a row of empty bleachers and quickly sat down. It was halfway through the game that we realized we were sitting on the opposing team’s side. Oops.
The first quarter of the game came and went, with the Lady Knights in the lead 19-14. Adam and I spent a majority of the time discussing how un-athletic and gangly we were until we eventually remembered we were here for work and should probably be paying attention. With this in mind, I decided to discover a little more about the special circumstances of the Pink Zone game. I flagged down a member of GU volleyball team, junior occupational therapy major Jordyn Thiery who explained the idea behind the game. She explained that all the GU athletic teams attended the Pink Zone game to raise funds and support the community. The game was in partnership with local hospitals, such as UPMC, St. Vincent, and LECOM. She stated, “GU athletics have a good support system. All teams are here in one spot wearing the same uniform to support a great cause.” Members of GU athletics were scattered around the arena, selling raffle tickets for fundraising or otherwise assisting with different aspects of the event.
After discussing things with Jordyn and checking out some of the vendors in the lobby, the second quarter of the game was already over, with Gannon again in the lead 37-32. Adam and I decided to relocate to the correct side of the stadium to watch the halftime show. Conveniently, we were located right next to the pep band, which reminded me of my marching band days of high school. The halftime entertainment consisted of various shoot-the-basket type games and the GU Dance Team (admittedly, I had always wanted to be on the Dance Team. I like watching them do backflips and kicklines).
I sat through the game, chatting with Adam and only accidentally cheering for the wrong team once! Pretty soon, the end of the 4th quarter was approaching with both teams tied 58-58! Adam informed me that this meant the game would go into overtime. I gulped. Tensions were high.
Maybe it’s because the stakes were so high, or maybe it was because of all the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos I had scarfed down previously, but I was amped up for this showdown. Since both teams offense and defense were equally matched, it looked like the game would be won by free throws. The game was incredibly close up to the final moments. Much to everyone’s disappointment, the final score of the game was Slippery Rock 72 to Gannon 65. Womp womp.
To me, what I really liked about the game was the sense of GU community (and, okay, the backflips too). I liked looking around the arena and seeing everyone wearing pink to support breast cancer survivors. I liked the sound of everyone’s happy cheers when the Lady Knights made a basket. I could care less about the outcome of the game. The important thing to me was the collaboration between Gannon and the community. As Disney-Channel-afternoon-special as it sounds, I like the feeling of everyone being uKNIGHTed (sorry, I had to throw in a knight pun).
So, the verdict. Would I attend a Gannon sporting event again? Surprisingly, yes. It didn’t matter that I had no idea what was happening around me. I felt that tingly sense of home and GU pride throughout the game. I had a good time and will even try to attend some more games in the future. You won’t even need to bribe me with hot dogs.