Column: Top UConn sports traditions to experience
Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 23, 2012 14:08
When people ask me why I chose to attend the University of Connecticut, I would be remiss if I did not mention that athletics were a big reason that I came to Storrs. Even though I knew I would never take the field wearing the Huskies’ blue and white, I still wanted to be a part of the Huskymania that takes place before and during many athletic contests. UConn has long standing traditions with many of its sports teams and students should try to take advantage of low student ticket prices and seeing athletes before they go pro when they have the chance. Here are the top five UConn athletic events to attend during your time as a Husky.
Number Five: Attend a UConn hockey game. One of the fastest growing UConn programs is the men’s hockey team, who play their home games on campus at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. This past summer, the Huskies accepted an invitation to play in one of the premier college ice hockey conferences in the nation, Hockey East. Although Hockey East play won’t commence until the 2014-2015 season, UConn will continue to be in contention for Atlantic Hockey’s league title as they come off a second round loss to the eventual champion Air Force in last year’s conference playoffs. Games are sometimes free for students and free T-shirts and pizza are provided by members of UConn’s faithful student section, The Blue Line.
Number Four: Take in a UConn baseball game. When the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, there is nothing finer than catching a UConn baseball game at J.O. Christian Field. Since the facility does not have lights, games are played during the day. Often double headers are played which means one could easily spend an enjoyable day at the ballpark. Recently some former UConn players have signed with major league ball clubs, including Texas Rangers first baseman Mike Olt, who made his rookie debut this summer.
Number Three: Attend a UConn soccer game. Soccer may not be the most popular sport in America, but it’s hard to tell after attending a UConn soccer game at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. From the opening kick-off to the final horn, the student section, known as the Goal Patrol is busy making life a nightmare for the opposing goalie. UConn soccer has been ranked nationally, multiple times and just missed a bid for the College Cup last season, when they fell 4-2 in penalty kicks to the Charlotte 49’ers.
Number Two: Sleep outside Gampel Pavilion before a basketball game. One of my favorite memories at UConn will always be the weekend of February 25th 2012. That was the day that ESPN College Gameday came to Storrs for their weekly pregame show before the UConn/Syracuse men’s basketball game. The night before, many UConn students, including myself and a few other writers from The Daily Campus braved the elements and slept outside to ensure a spot in the first few rows for pregame show. It was cold, I didn’t have a sleeping bag and people were shouting the whole night, but I wouldn’t trade that night for anything in the world. I think sacrificing one night’s sleep is worth it to take part in a tradition that will leave you with lasting memories.
Number One: Tailgate at Rentschler Field. Finally, if you do anything on this list make it this one. Tailgating is not unique to UConn but it’s one of the things that make a chilly Saturday in the fall something that football fans on campus look forward to week after week. Parking lots open four hours before kickoff, so it’s worth it to plan on arriving early. Even though you will see some elaborate setups by fans and UConn alumni, don’t be ashamed of your tailgate, they have been doing this for years. College is a great place to begin your own tailgating traditions that you can carry on after you earn that precious degree.