Welcome to the era of Queen’s OUA and U SPORTS dominance.
This year, the Gaels have captured four provincial first place titles—Women’s Lacrosse, Women’s Softball, Men’s Baseball, and Women’s Rugby—and it’s only February. The football team just competed at the Yates Cup for the second year in a row. The men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams are all currently ranked in the U SPORTS Top Ten.
But Queen’s students wouldn’t even know—Gaels have been dominating in empty stadiums.
Queen’s is known for its academics, its rivalry with Western, and its drinking culture. It’s not known as a campus anchored in athletics, but that should change.
What if varsity teams were a tool for cultural change on campus? What if attending sports games and cheering on the Gaels as they brought home these titles was as celebrated as getting black-out drunk at Stages?
Could Queen’s shift from a university plagued with aggressive, unfulfilling drinking and partying habits to a university full of vibrant and involved university sports fans?
Sports play a pivotal role in society. They unite communities, foster friendly competition, keep people active, and are a ton of fun. When students go to university, however, they often lose access to these important elements of sport because they stop playing them.
Not everyone can be a varsity athlete, but supporting varsity athletics is a way for everyone to access the benefits of sports while at university. Sitting at the ARC, winning a free t-shirt, and eating two-dollar popcorn while watching Cole Syllas dunk is an incredible alternative to standing in line for dollar beers when it’s 30 degrees below freezing.
Supporting the Gaels is free and won’t induce a Sunday hangover. Watching and caring about Queen’s sports also has a positive impact on athletes. In every post-game interview with The Journal this year, the Gaels athletes have commented on how fans contribute to the environment and their chances of winning.
This past weekend, Women’s Basketball played the Carleton Ravens in Ottawa and suffered their first loss of the season. During that devastating game, the announcer talked about how the energy in the Ravens’ home gym acted as a sixth player on the court and contributed to the win.
It’s time we brought a sixth player to the Queen’s basketball court. For this to happen, students need to attend games, talk about players, and track the Gaels’ success.
Such a campus culture shift seems daunting, but the athletes are already doing their part. Right now, it’s easy to get excited about Queen’s teams because they’re dominating in an impressive and unprecedented way. Now’s the perfect time for fans to show up and support in an impressive and unprecedented way, too.
The Gaels are playing volleyball and basketball this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the ARC. Go check them out.
Sarah is a fourth-year English student and The Journal’s Senior Sports Editor.
Athletics, Campus Culture, school spirit, Sports
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