Vikes, More Vikes!

Peter Griffith

(Brent Schwert)

The sign on the ticket table at St. Norbert Schules Sports Center read:
Adults: $3
Children: $1
SNC Students, Faculty and Staff (with valid ID): free
“Oh great,” I thought, “I just drove a half hour in the freezing cold and nearly got lost on the winding streets of De Pere and now I have to pay 3 bucks to watch a DIII basketball game?”
I approached the table and the SNC student sitting behind said “Student?”
“Yeah, Lawrence,” I replied, and he proceeded to charge me one dollar.
This brings up a few interesting points. Where did he get the $1-figure? Was it some sort of lame jab at Lawrence students being children?
More likely he didn’t want to charge a student full price but felt he should get something out of me. I have to say I really appreciated the gesture, and the discount. It got me thinking about relations between students from rival colleges at sporting events, and how even Ripon fans aren’t really that bad.
Before you decide to burn me at the stake or sacrifice me to the Red Hawk Nation, let me try to explain.
Last Wednesday’s LU basketball game against Ripon was pretty great. It was a great win, and a dominant win. For the first time since St. Braier last laced up his sneakers Lawrence looked like a team that could beat anyone. What really made the game great and really echoed last year’s games however was the game’s atmosphere – specifically the fans – specifically the student sections.
There’s nothing quite like student sections in college basketball. Ask anyone who’s seen a game at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium or Michigan State’s Breslin Center or even the Kohl Center at UW about the atmosphere. What sets these Meccas of college hoops apart isn’t the terrific basketball being played; it’s the student sections.
So when I got to the Ripon game and saw that Ripon had brought 50 drunken meatheads in matching red T-shirts, I was nothing but glad.
Ya see, one student section makes a basketball game great. Two student sections add a whole other game. It was like Lawrence and Ripon were duking it out on the court and the students were playing another banter-centered game from the stands. They echoed each of our LU LU LU chants with their own F for L ciphered version. They chanted “Red Hawk Nation” and we returned “Academics.” It helped get both sections even more pumped up for the games.
Now in my mind our section clearly won that battle. Cleverness always trumps vulgarity. But the point is not which section was better, louder or cleverer. The point is that Ripon brought a pretty big group of fans to cheer on their team, and fueled by the passion of the rivalry the students of both schools helped create a true college basketball atmosphere in Alexander Gymnasium.
Thanks, Ripon, for bringing the Red Hawk Nation. Although that chant, by the way, is real lame.