After a prolonged hiatus, Dalhousie Tigers football returned in 2010 in the form of an Atlantic Football League (AFL) club team. In the inaugural edition of The Water Cooler, the Gazette’s esteemed panel breaks down what that means and why it matters.
IF: Ian Froese – Gazette Editor-in-Chief
NS: Nick Schroeder – Innocent Bystander, Fan of Panels
TJ: Torie Joy-Warren – Racquet Sport Enthusiast
SM: Scruffy MacMinster – Angry Scotsman
1. Why should the student body care about Dalhousie football?
IF: Because it’s football. Is that a lame reason? Probably, but the argument stands. The big-ticket status of football has the potential to fill seats, build community, and, most notably, generate alumni donations unlike few teams or events can. Students should care because they should care about their school.
NS: For the same reason we wear Dalhousie sweaters around Halifax and Dalhousie backpacks around campus. We’re part of a community and it is important to support our fellow students and athletes. It’s about building a collective identity.
TJ: I think if students are interested in football in general, then Tigers football is worth caring about. There’s something very powerful about students coming together, and sports are a great way to do that.
SM: Because a silly, wimpier version of rugby is stealing the name of the greatest sport known to man! It’s an outrage. They call it “football” but they never use their bloody feet! Then they go ahead and name the sport where you do use your feet “soccer.” That makes no sense!
2. What is the most significant challenge facing the Tigers as they enter the new season?
IF: Chemistry. Each season brings a host of new recruits, making consistency a struggle. We saw it last season when the Tigers often played three quarterbacks in a game. Here’s hoping that this season’s squad will get in a groove quickly.
NS: Getting people out to the games and creating interest to build the program seem like significant challenges for the Tigers. Maybe once they are more established, I or anyone will have a more satisfying answer to questions about on-field challenges.
TJ: I think most students see the football team as separate from the rest of the student body, and their biggest challenge will be changing that. Getting students more excited about Tigers football won’t be easy either.
SM: No, wait, let me finish. In real football, you have a ball and you use your feet. At least you did, until some American wanker decided to play a game where you throw and catch an oval and call it football! It’s the literal opposite, man. The literal opposite.
3. Where do you see the Dalhousie football program headed in the coming years?
IF: I see Tigers football where they are now: a group of hard-working volunteers trying to revive Dal’s gridiron heyday of the 1970s. The dream is that this team will return to the AUS [Atlantic University Sport], but that will require at least six-figures in start-up cash. Dal will need alumni support.
NS: Hanging around the AFL for the foreseeable future. It will be hard for the Tigers to break into the AUS for football, as it’s already such a competitive and expensive division to join. When you look at AUS programs like St. Mary’s, you see a well-established program. That’s where Tigers football needs to be heading.
TJ: The students who are involved with football at Dal seem very enthusiastic about it, and that’s really what you need to keep a team going.
SM: And another thing: why do they need eight refs, video replay, and all that tomfoolery? In real football, you get one ref with a whistle and two flagmen–if you’re lucky. Lousy American football thinks it’s all that with its long games and stupid rules. Well, it’s not! Now, what was the question?