By Xavier Sanchez
Ever since we were little we have been shown images of famous Colleges and Universities in books, on television, and in the movies. I guess most people dream of big name schools as their top choices. After careful consideration, we Duhawks have found ourselves at a respected Division III school that has a strong balance between academics and co-curriculars including sports.
During this past J-Term break, I had the opportunity to get an inside look as a media member at a DePaul Basketball game, in their newly built Wintrust Arena. After gathering my thoughts, I came to the conclusion that there isn’t really a difference between the DI and DIII schools other than the size. What I saw at the DePaul game also seems to happen at Loras sporting events; at DePaul it just happens on a grander scale.
The similarities are location and surrounding scenery, performances, and fans and fan interaction.
Much like Wintrust Arena, Lillis Court in the AWC includes seating around the court, a scoreboard, and concessions. Wintrust Arena can seat 10,387 fans, while the Athletic Wellness Center holds just under 3,000. At Loras, the sports communication team uses a scoreboard that keeps track of the score, team fouls, and points by players on the court. The DePaul Blue Demon fans get the luxury of a jumbotron, which allows them to see the same things on the scoreboard, but adds video. These jumbotrons are versatile in use. They allow fans to watch replays of plays that just took place. Loras offers a wonderful concession stand filled with great items, but Wintrust Arena has few more tasty options. Both schools are Pepsi schools though.
During halftime at the DePaul game, both cheerleading teams and dance teams performed. Each took the court for a portion of halftime, to display their latest moves, as they prepare for their own competitions. The Loras College Spirit Squad can often be seen on the baselines cheering the Duhawks to victory. They also get their chance to show off their routines in front of fans at halftimes of games, which was done last weekend before their first team competition.
Lastly, the fans and fan interactions play a crucial role in both divisions. Like Loras, DePaul offers free admission to all home games for Blue Demons’ students. Both schools have a strong fan-base dedicated to cheering on their team to victory. Fans often look for more entertainment beyond watching cheer and dance performances. This is where schools have to get creative. DePaul will hand out shirts before a game, or toss them out throughout a game. Another way to encourage fan excitement is using the jumbotron to pump up the crowd, or livestream what might be taking place at halftime. During the DePaul game that I attended, three kids played musical chairs for a DePaul prize pack. Every now and then, the Loras game day staff plans special halftime activities and hands out T-shirts to the crowd. In the past, the gameday staff at Loras has done a home run derby and various shooting competitions.
Despite all the glorifying of Division I sports, they closely compare to Division III once you start to break it down. From the locations and surroundings, performances, fans and fan interaction, Loras lives up to some of the best Division III schools. Loras students should soak it all in and take part in viewing as many games as they can while they are student Duhawks. See you at a game soon.
Due to technological difficulties, articles from the Feb. 15 issue were posted late. The Lorian apologizes for the late update.