Editorial: A challenge for Brock Athletics and the rest of the OUA

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The Brock Badgers are continuing their trend this Wednesday when they send a fan bus to cheer on their basketball teams during a road game. Brock’s athletic department doesn’t do this for every game that is played on the road, normally two or three per season – excluding playoffs.  However, Brock has become known to be a travelling fan base, specifically for the sport of basketball.

On Wednesday, Brock men’s and women’s basketball will play Laurier (at Waterloo), and parts of the gym will be covered with people wearing red. The last time Brock sent a fan bus — specifically two buses — to Laurier, it seemed like a home game for the Badgers with Laurier students calling their friends to show up to the game so they weren’t outnumbered by Brock.

Having been part of a couple of these road trips, I can say it is a great atmosphere. Having heard the opinions from fans of the home team, the atmosphere is also great.

However, here’s my issue: why aren’t opposing school’s sending fan buses our way?

I get that the men’s basketball team at Brock is ranked number two in the country, so not many teams can put up a competitive game, making the trip down not worthwhile for the fans. But it’s the OUA and anything is possible. A surprise road crowd could put Brock teams on edge and lead to an upset victory.

Then there’s the issue of gymnasium size. Bob Davis, the home gym for Brock, doesn’t seat as many people as say a Laurier, Ryerson or Carleton. Brock has an easy time selling out its home games just within its own school community.  But I’ll issue two challenges with OUA basketball and hockey playoffs around the corner:

Challenge one is to Brock Athletics. Move all basketball and hockey playoff games to the Meridian Centre — if the schedule allows for it. You know from the amount of fan buses you’ve sent to road games and the amount of home Meridian Centre games, that the crowd will show up. The atmosphere will be there. There’s a chance that men’s basketball and hockey, and women’s hockey will all be playoff teams this season. The argument could be made that if you do a Meridian Centre game for each home playoff game, it’ll become too much and students will stop coming. I argue that you have the fan base and the student engagement to make it work. So make it happen.

Challenge two is to the schools Brock will play in the playoffs. Send fan buses and let’s make this fun. I understand if Laurentian, Nipissing or Lakehead students aren’t overexcited about this because of distance; however, this should work for the schools in Southern Ontario. Challenge your student body. Now is the time to grow university sport in Canada through student engagement and playoff season is the perfect time to create a fun atmosphere.

My idea for these challenges came after Brock men’s basketball destroyed Waterloo this past weekend by 43 points. The Brock gym was pretty much sold-out, but midway through the game the crowd was almost dead silent because Brock fans ran out of things to cheer for.

A Meridian Centre game with an opposing crowd will not only make the games much more competitive, but add excitement for the crowd. So, here’s your challenge Brock Athletics. Let’s make the Meridian Centre home for the playoffs and let’s challenge the opposing school’s to show us what they got.

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