Division 1 Athletics instills passion at UCA
In the first three years I was a student at UCA I might have gone to three to four football games and zero basketball games. UCA athletics did not instill much pride, excitement or passion in the student body here at UCA. The football games that I did attend turned out to be just like another high school game where socializing was the main goal and that ran it’s course within half the game. I always pictured UCA athletics as a great scholarship opportunity for good high school athletes, but other than that it did not serve other students here.
This year we took the plunge into D1 athletics and I believe it has been one of the best things that has happened to UCA. The feel of UCA athletics has taken on a new persona within the short first season. President Lu Hardin has made arrangements to shut down Bruce street to enable tailgating and pre-game social activities. For the first time in my college career I have seen excitement among students about going to the games.
I remember going to the first UCA tailgate on Bruce. There were truck-pulled grills, tents, live music, and dixie cups filled with adult beverages all along the street. The environment was what I would expect at a much large school such as the U of A. Well maybe not that large but it was a big deal. The pre-game festivities started a few hours before kickoff and there was no boring downtime to speak of.
In addition to having a great time before the game, I was shocked to see how well UCA played against D1 teams from across the country. We are in the Southland conference now and have had an impressive season record. I now look forward to going to the games to just watch our guys play the game. Yeah the social scene is there now, and there is great food and drinks, but we actually have a team worth watching.
After the first Bruce street tailgate, I was so excited about the new found fun I found a way to purchase a season parking pass on Bruce street to do our own tailgating. No greek or other organization needed, we planned on having some of our own fun. For the second home game we had the first ever Bennett-Smith Tailgate Extravaganza. We had the truck pulled grill with all the trimmings: tables, chairs, beer and the best grilled chicken I have ever made. I don’t think I am alone in saying that my friends and I had a great time and plan on doing it many more times to come. With the help of D1 athletics I think UCA has great things to come in the future.
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