Opinion Writer Samantha DiMaio

As a college student, it is crucial to find that balance between school and socializing. Even when the philosophy paper is not finished, the biology test needs more preparing for or the religion presentation is not completely memorized, sometimes a break is beneficial. 

Becoming involved on campus is one way to get that breather. There are numerous clubs and activities at Gonzaga which help freshmen form a community and make great memories, but some of the most popular events revolve around sports.

Arguably the best thing about this school is the basketball games. In the midst of a sold-out stadium is the student section, where people in various red outfits chant with the cheerleaders and roar with applause for the player who just blocked a shot midair or the one who jumped 5 feet in the air to dunk the ball.

The vibe is unbeatable, especially during Kraziness in the Kennel. At this event, the team is introduced for the first time that season. Students and other fans get to watch them scrimmage in order to observe the new players and the evolving team dynamic. There is also a dunk contest and 3-point shooting contest, which are always thrilling for the crowd.

Fan Fest is around the same time. At this event, the women’s basketball team is introduced. They also scrimmage and hold various competitions for the fans to observe the new team and get more excited for the upcoming season.

“Both the men’s and women’s teams are amazing and fun to watch,” junior Natelie Windsor said.

A major part of the hype of basketball at GU is the process the students have to endure in order to get their tickets and the best seats possible. This is especially true for tenting games.

On a usually brisk and snowy day around noon, a secret location is revealed via Twitter. Hundreds of students sprint through the middle of campus like the Running of the Bulls in Spain. Depending on when a student reaches the location, they receive a number which correlates to their tent number and the order in which they enter the stadium. On the night before the game, they lodge in a tent outside with a group of friends to hold their spot. This event is called Tent City and although it only happens a few times each season in preparation for specific games, students plan for it year-round.

Basketball isn’t the only thing GU has to offer. Attending an intense soccer game on a rainy day, a baseball game under the hot sun, a tennis match, a track meet or a volleyball game is always enjoyable with a group of friends. Students are constantly cheering on their companions who participate at the Division I or club level and the Kennel Club Board is always introducing new means to support all of the sports at GU.

On the other hand, students get to play sports by joining intramurals. There is basketball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, flag football, pickleball, softball, Spikeball and more.

“Intramurals are a fun way to get to know people and you get a break from the stress of school,” Windsor said.

With various competitive levels, students can play for the love of the sport they’ve played since middle school or just to have fun with their friends and add some exercise to their weekly routine. The winner of each league receives the ultimate trophy: an intramural champion T-shirt.

“I play as many intramurals as I can,” said Davis Wright, a junior on the club Ultimate Frisbee team. “The competition brackets are nice so that you can play against people with your skill level.”

For freshmen in particular, the Freshmen Games are the talk of the dorms. This event is a tournament of various intramural sports exclusively between freshmen teams. It is a compilation of softball, volleyball, flag football and indoor soccer. The winners get the ultimate glory of beating everyone else along with a champion T-shirt.

Similarly, there is the Bulldog Bowl. This is a unique event in which the dorms of Catherine Monica (CM) Welch and DeSmet compete against each other in a heated flag football game on Mulligan Field.

Mostly comprised of freshmen, the two teams battle it out on a dark night at the beginning of the year as their friends cheer them on from the sidelines. The winning dorm gets high praise as the tally is added to the longstanding score of this yearslong tradition.

Students entering GU for the first year of their college experience can easily become involved in any of these activities. It gives them something to look forward to when they are drowning in textbooks or sitting in a class that doesn’t even relate to their major. 

Though there are other amazing activities to be involved in as well, sports are a prime part of the environment at GU and are a great way to enjoy the company of friends and make memories to share in the future.

Samantha DiMaio is a staff writer.

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