Tag Archive | "wildcard"

The Wildcard: The one with the big game

The Super Bowl is this Sunday. And it’s just less than two hours away from Indiana Wesleyan University. Big deal, right? If history has taught us anything, more than 100 million people will tune in to watch the two best teams in the NFL engage in a battle of epic proportions for football’s highest honor. Sure, some people claim to watch just for the $3 million commercials, but without the game, there are no commercials. From the students I’ve talked to here at IWU, I would guess about two-thirds of our campus will be tuned in along with everyone else.

So apparently, it is a big deal.

Of course, I’ll be on the edge of my seat with everyone else. And you should be too. Because at the very least, what Monday-morning class isn’t going to take at least a couple minutes to discuss the game, the inevitably underwhelming halftime show and yes, the commercials?

I’m as excited as anyone to watch this game. But all of the hype, even just at IWU, made me think about the level of excitement for this Sunday’s Patriots-Giants matchup versus that for Wildcat athletics. If the same number of IWU students who watch the Super Bowl would come to just one basketball game, Luckey Arena would need another addition of bleachers.

Admittedly, I’ve been banging this drum pretty hard this year, but it’s because of the great things the Wildcats have accomplished and will continue to do throughout the rest of each team’s respective schedule. I think that if we can get excited about a sporting event that has little impact on us or the people around us, shouldn’t we be even more enthusiastic about victories that would actually bring something to our own campus?

The Super Bowl will happen, and it will be big just like it always is. IWU students will half-heartedly attempt to do homework while watching the game (or is that just me?) and probably talk about it the next day at the proverbial water cooler (because no one really uses water coolers anymore). By mid-week, we will all have posted our favorite commercials from the night on Facebook, and aside from the stray fan of the winning team (cough, Patriots, cough), that will be the end of our Super Bowl XLVI experience.

But if the Wildcats won a historic championship, our own version of the Super Bowl, there would a party on IWU’s campus that lasted for weeks. At least, that’s how long I would be celebrating.

So yes, watch the Super Bowl this Sunday. It’s an American staple and will be a great game. But you know what you should do then? Go to the IWU men’s basketball game on Tuesday. Go to the women’s basketball game next Saturday. Heck, even go the to the indoor track and field event at IWU this Saturday. If you can find the heart to yell and scream at a TV showing people you’ve never met playing football, you can certainly yell and scream for your own IWU Wildcats.

And that’s a big deal.

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The Wildcard: the one with the pronouns

One of my favorite things about being away from school is that I get to watch sports without studying for a test or typing away on my laptop.

There’s just something nice about being able to enjoy the game without worrying about what I have to do the next day. But there’s one big difference between watching Indiana Wesleyan University athletics and national events.

It’s all about the pronouns.

I’m a big critic of people who say “we” when talking about their favorite sports team. When people say things like, “We won the game,” when in reality, it was the Yankees that won the game.

“What position do you play?” is my usual reply.

But that’s the great thing about college sports, especially at smaller schools. They play by a different set of rules. Students at IWU can rightfully cheer on the Wildcats as “we” because the players on the courts and fields are our friends and classmates.

It’s one thing to claim affiliation with a group of athletes you’ve never met. Even in most extreme cases, there is still no real emotional investment. On Saturdays or Sundays or whenever your favorite team plays its games, you have no right to say “we.”

It’s entirely different when you actually know the players you are cheering.

When I covered the IWU volleyball team’s historic 2011 season, I went into the season a big fan of those Wildcats. But it was only through going to matches and getting to know some of the players that I actually began to invest myself in the team. Once I personally got to know the fine people who helped produce all those wins (from the players to the coaches and even the athletic trainers), I was hooked.

With that, and by sheer nature of going to the matches that I could and checking scores online religiously when I couldn’t, I began to feel like a part of the team. When the Wildcats won, I felt like I was right there with them. When they lost, I couldn’t wait for the next game to come so the Wildcats could get back on track. And at the end of the season, it was great to talk with team members and reminisce on what was a fantastic year, one I was proud to be a part of.

More IWU students should take advantage of the opportunity to be part of the “we” sports community this school has. It is so much more meaningful than the alternative, especially when we have such an incredible athletic program that annually wins championships. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?

There aren’t many feelings like when your favorite sports team wins a big game. The excitement that goes with that game-ending spike, shot, or strike is like none other. That feeling only gets better when you can honestly say, “We won.”

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