by Jack Belanger ’21
It is apt to say that sports play a significant role in shaping the culture at Providence College. From the first moment I stepped onto this campus, it was clear how important basketball and hockey are to the PC community. While fall sports do not come close in terms of popularity to winter sports, they nevertheless are an important part of the culture on campus.
For six semesters I have manned the sidelines as a ball boy for all fall athletic teams. I have been up close for countless shootouts at Anderson Stadium. I woke up one early Saturday morning to witness the Friars score eight goals in a field hockey game. I spent Friday evenings in Alumni Hall counting down how many points the volleyball team needed to score to end their match so I could begin my night. What I noticed was where all these sports lacked in flash, they made up for in one unique characteristic: intimacy.
Have you ever noticed how at basketball and hockey games, student sections are packed behind either the basket or goal, away from the benches and an entire half of the court/rink? It would be nice to be close to the action for the whole game. While games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center carry a lot of excitement and energy, there is something special about the games in which you can hear and see the action up close behind the bench.
Fall sports may not be as loud as their winter counterparts, but the sounds you hear are more distinct. During men’s soccer games, head coach Craig Stewart’s English accent can be heard for the full 90 minutes no matter where you are sitting. There are always a few fans whose chants stand out, whether it be the passionate parents we are all too familiar with or the immature classmates shouting wacky chants.
While the Dunk brings in fans from all around, fall sports are events that specifically bring the campus community together. You always recognize the faces you see at a fall sports game, whether it be fellow students, professors, parents, or even the Dominican friars. The fans are there not because of the prestige of the team competing, but to show authentic support for those they know.
PC’s winter sports may show the size of the Friar Family, but the College’s fall sports reveal its strength. You do not stay to the end of a volleyball match after the team loses the first two sets or sit through a chilly night because you think your team has a chance to win a national title. You do it because Friars support each other, regardless of the outcome.