It’s a great time to be a sports fan. MLB playoffs, NHL hockey, the NBA is gearing up, the NFL and CFL are playing games that matter and we get a homecoming football game at Dal.
“We’ve worked real hard to put an entertaining product on the field,” says Jim Wilson, one of the main drivers behind the return of football to Dal.
Wilson is a former President of the Football Club and head of the Alumni Committee at Dal.
“When people come out they have way more fun than they though they would, just ask the [Tigers] swim team,” he says.
The homecoming football game at Dal is still a new thing, with football only returning to the school in 2010, yet has been a big hit with both students and alumni.
“It’s so cool to see a great big crowd of people and everyone going nuts,” says Wilson.
“It’s really not even about the football game, at the end of the day you don’t need to like football. It’s a social event, it’s a three-ring circus, it’s fun to get out and meet with friends and be a little goofy and put your black and gold on and just have a good time.”
One of the great aspects of school sports is that it allows alumni and current students to bond together over their school.
“The thing is about sports teams is that it’s something alumni and students can get just as excited about,” says Wilson.
“It’s something that they can have in common. I really get a kick when you get the alumni out with the students. It makes the alumni feel young, it makes the students feel wow the alumni really care about the school and I should be proud.”
Athletics can have a massive impact upon building a culture of pride in a school. When new students come into an environment and see that the students and alumni are proud of and passionate about their school, it trickles down through the generations of students and alumni.
“It becomes the new norm,” says Wilson. “The whole idea is to engage as many students as you can along with alumni. Engaged students will become engaged alumni. To get kids to come out to football and realize that it’s a lot of fun … that’s what it’s all about.”
Many of the different faculties at Dal have been reaching out to alumni to do some things for homecoming.
The faculty of management has had scavenger hunts placing alumni with students. Other faculties have had pumpkin carving events to be displayed at homecoming. This year the faculty of management has a five-km fun run and brunch.
Regardless of your knowledge or passion for the sport, there is a good time to be had.
“There is absolutely something here for everyone,” says Wilson. “If you want to go drink beer there’s a beer garden, if you want to watch the game we have a game going on and it’s pretty good football, if you wanna sit there and talk to your friends you can do that, if you wanna just sit there and crowd watch you can do that too.”
There are all sorts of extras to go along with the game.
“We’ve got cheerleaders,” says Wilson. “There are people trying to dress up to win awards, there’s things like kick for your tuition. It’s pure entertainment.”
The program has come a long way in just its sixth season of reincarnation.
“You know when I was here [as a student in the late 80’s] we didn’t even have a team,” says Wilson. “Now there are banners [for Dal homecoming] on the MacDonald Bridge and I thought, ‘Wow, we’ve come a long way.’ ”
Put on your black and gold make your way to “the Wick” Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7:00 p.m. and have yourself a great time representing #tigerpride.