Forget clubs, go to a UConn game
Published: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 16:08
By now, you’ve heard the same two words to the point of nausea. The advice from friends, parents, aunts and uncles, even guidance counselors, over the past weeks and months leading up to freshman year has undoubtedly contained that one mind-numbing phrase: “Get involved.”
Even worse? They’re right.
From that art club Mom has been pushing you toward to the fraternity Uncle Bill is pitching or the a cappella you’ve been thinking about ever since watching “Pitch Perfect,” nothing can help make college more enjoyable than getting involved.
But let me, for a moment, propose an alternative to all of those haphazard clubs and organizations: go to a game.
I mean, why not? Right now, on the eve of your first collegiate experience, you’re entering a Mecca of athletic competition.
A top-ranked soccer program.
A growing baseball powerhouse.
Field hockey Final Fours.
And, of course, 11 basketball national championships.
Here at UConn, if there’s one thing we know how to do, it’s win.
Getting involved doesn’t have to entail sitting in some half-empty classroom at 9 p.m. once a week, chatting about politics and the latest book Oprah recommended. No, it can be far more fun than that.
In fact, I’d venture a guess that Morrone Stadium, Gampel Pavilion or Rentschler Field would make for a more exciting venue for a regular get-together.
Want to make a few friends? Head on down to Goal Patrol, the official student section of UConn men’s – and occasionally women’s – soccer.
Goal Patrol is a group of misfits, hooligans and nutjobs that screams, sings and chants from first whistle to final buzzer, smartly located behind the opposing keeper’s net.
Of course, the small matter of the team being ranked No. 5 in the nation and having a legitimate shot at a national title always helps keep spirits high.
Not a soccer fan? Not an issue, we can find you a spot.
The Sherman Family Sports Complex plays host to two teams, one which boasts a history of dominance and another that’s starting to fight its way into the national picture.
Coach Nancy Stevens has led the field hockey team to eight Final Fours in her 23-year tenure, and year No. 24 looks promising as well. Of course, she shares the turf field with the lacrosse team, which made its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance last season.
And there’s always the Dog Pound, conveniently located behind the south end zone at Rentschler Field.
Yes, the football team has struggled the past two seasons, but each year is a new opportunity. And this season provides the chance to see Michigan visit East Hartford, as well as ensure Randy Edsall – UConn’s Benedict Arnold – is less than comfortable when he brings his Maryland squad into town.
If you’re the type that enjoys the cold, the Freitas Ice Forum will gladly take you in.
The home to Husky hockey, Freitas will be the site of an exciting transition in the years to come, as the UConn men’s program leaves Atlantic Hockey behind and joins the likes of Boston College and Boston University in Hockey East in 2014.
Hockey is on the rise in Storrs, and the Blue Line – the program’s designated student section - is the perfect spot to watch the games and play a part in the game’s evolution on campus.
When winter finally breaks, the K9 Unit gets back up-and-running because J.O. Christian Field becomes the perfect place to enjoy the newfound warmth – and a baseball program that has made the NCAA Regionals three times in four years.
But above all else, make Gampel Pavilion your home for the next four years.
Mention the name UConn to any sports fan in the country, and the faces of Jim Calhoun and Kemba Walker, Geno Auriemma and Maya Moore race to the forefront, with memories of buzzer-beaters and trophies – plenty of trophies – not far behind.
With Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright back in the fold for this season, plus the ongoing development of DeAndre Daniels, Coach Kevin Ollie has a promising squad that is already garnering top-25 attention on the men’s side of things.
When it comes to women’s ball, there’s none better than Auriemma, who will have the majority of his national championship team back and looking to repeat this season.
Forget the fact that your freshman year has barely just begun – you’re already a Husky. And here at UConn, Husky pride reigns supreme.
So when you’re looking to make a few friends in the coming days, weeks or months, feel free to skip the traditional clubs that Mom and Dad might be suggesting and head on down to the field instead.
After all, everyone loves a winner. It just so happens that in Storrs, all we do is win.