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A reason to celebrate

DAL vs. UPEI, AUS finals. By Andrew Meade
DAL vs. UPEI, AUS finals. By Andrew Meade

Oh, Dal, you’ve finally done it. The Tigers soccer teams have finally won an AUS banner. I’ve covered the teams for four years and have never seen them win one.

Sure, it was over webcast, and yeah, I’m a heartless journalist who shouldn’t cheer for any team, but it was still fun. It’s fun to watch the AUS trophy hoisted every year, but it’s a little better when it’s one’s home school.

I’m not a sports-centric glory-hunter. The high school newspaper I ran ignored the sports teams almost completely. I never attended or played high school sports. I have never played organized soccer. And yet I was still glued to my 240-pixel viewer window on Saturday.

Maybe there’s a lesson we can take from this in the ongoing mystery that is Dal Athletics attendance figures. To be clear: people do come to Dal soccer games, they’re just never into it, and not all of them are journalism students, surely?

There is an element of escapism to watching university soccer, or any sport, really. There is a fantastic quality to it, part of the possibility in amateur sport, captured in people showing what they love and what they’ve learned.

If you’re sitting in one of the stuffier Dal faculty offices or creakier study desks in the Killam and wondering what this has to do with anything, consider: a university is an old institution. The idea of a college of like-minded individuals is what we all hold dear. To watch, learn, grow and demonstrate within one community is why we’re here.

There is, sadly, no high-table at Dal. There is no way to publicly fete the greater achievements. So it’s back to the stacks and back to the marking: this is, after all, a “degree factory”, isn’t it?

But I hate that slang. The idea that my education is just about grades and marks and a piece of paper that will let me get a job is misguided. When I’m watching a game at Wickwire, it reminds me that this is a college in a small military town. It’s like reading a book written of plastic green pages. The effort, often against rain and bitter wind, and all for no grade whatsoever, makes it matter. The win just ends the story.

Watching our sports teams is important for the same reason it’s important to go to student theatre or readings, or why you should pop into the Grawood from time to time. The very top of the ivory tower is held up by what people have learned—take that away and the whole thing is just an idea. This weekend, a group of students showed what they’ve learned, and it’s time the college took a little notice.

It’s called community—collegiality—and in a world the size of ours, we should take a little pride in this little town and its team that can and did.

Dylan Matthias
Dylan Matthias
Dylan served as Editor-in-chief of the Gazette for Volume 144. He was the Sports Editor for Volume 143.
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