On Game Day: Finding the slice of student life

Nick Blank

Though the UNF men’s basketball team earned a loss against Florida Gulf Coast University, the energy and support from the fans remained a key element that enhanced the game day experience. Rows upon rows of tightly-packed twenty-somethings screamed their lungs out and held enlarged cut-outs of coaches and players. The student-fans play an important role for games, and sports is the means for individuals to unite with a common cause.

Being an expert on the rules of basketball isn’t a requirement for game-goers. UNF student Calvin Jones, who attended his second Osprey basketball game on Thursday, said he wasn’t very knowledgeable about the sport, but that didn’t deter him from having a great time.

Calvin Jones enjoys the social aspect of attending games. Photo by Nick Blank
Calvin Jones enjoys the social aspect of attending games. Photo by Nick Blank

“Athletics [events] are a great place for students to just hang out. You don’t really have to know anything about the game to have a great time,” Jones said.

Jones previously attended Florida Atlantic University, a university with a football team that fueled much of the game day hype.

“FAU was more football-oriented. They never had this,” Jones said as he looked at the nearly-full and rowdy student section.

Non-UNF students contributed to the electric atmosphere of the crowd, particularly the Florida Gulf Coast University student who wore a Where’s Waldo costume as he proudly waved a university flag.  

Fernandez was a part of the FGCU student section and wore a Where's Waldo costume as a gag.  Photo by Nick Blank
Fernandez was a part of the FGCU student section and wore a Where’s Waldo costume as a gag. Photo by Nick Blank

This was Miami-native Chance Fernandez, who relished the opportunity to support the Eagles on the road.

“I wanted something noticeable, everyone knows the Where’s Waldo outfit,” Fernandez said. “It’s a funny gag.”

The UNF students noticed and booed while Fernandez laughed.

Fernandez offered a tip to the fans on how to sustain UNF’s winning environment.

“Try and keep [the atmosphere] hyped up because if you don’t go the distance to the tournament again it will kind of die down like it did for us,” Fernandez said.

Among the riotous section of UNF students was Adam Tackett, a junior studying multimedia journalism. Tackett is an veteran game-goer and has attended many UNF basketball games this season. He stormed the court after the Ospreys won the Atlantic-Sun tournament last season.

Adam Tackett was proud of the Ospreys accomplishments this season despite the Thursday night defeat against Florida Gulf Coast University. Photo by Nick Blank
Adam Tackett was proud of the Ospreys accomplishments this season despite the Thursday night defeat against Florida Gulf Coast University. Photo by Nick Blank

The Osprey’s success over the past two seasons ignited this fanbase.

“It wasn’t like this at all two years ago,” Tackett said. “It’s fantastic the way the student body kind of rallied around the team.”

Although the energy of the crowd makes up a significant part of basketball games, watching the game for the sake of it is just as rewarding.

“I can’t describe how fun this team is to watch. So many three’s, so little defense, they play on the edge,” Tackett said. “The different styles of the players really mesh well together.”

Being in the crowd can be intoxicating, and the game day experience is still one that student-fans can appreciate.

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