The CMU game had a lot of hype around it with the students, and then Mother Nature slapped us in the face. The members of Dance Marathon did a ton of work to promote Project 10,000 in hopes of reaching their 10,000 student attendance goal, but they fell short. That doesn’t mean this wasn’t a blessing in disguise. There were about 9,000 people at the game last night. How awesome would it be if all 9,000 donated just $10 to Dance Marathon? If you are a Dance Marathon member reading this, don’t feel bad about not reaching your 10,000 goal. Awareness for the cause was raised all around campus and now students are talking about BSUDM. It’s only a matter of time until they donate!
There was something about the cold rain that actually made attending the game feel magical. I think the students realized that there was no avoiding it and they were already at the stadium, so they might as well make the most of it. And that they did! Because the bleachers were all wet, the students stood the entire game. There were also a lot of characters in the crowd last night. We had a banana, a horse, and an M&M just to name a few. There was also numerous posters and signs, most begging mom to send money. The hype of an ESPN game combined with a winning season and support from Dance Marathon members was exactly what the student section needed last night to tolerate the rain.
So where do we go from here as students? Northern Illinois, obviously. It was announced a few weeks ago that 40 students would be taken on a fan bus to NIU. The 40 would be the top point earners in the Charlie’s Crew Student Rewards Program. Well, 40 is great, but it’s not enough. Due to two generous donations, we are able to take an additional 200 students to Dekalb for arguably the best game of MACtion of the season. One of the concerns from Athletics is that 200 more students would not be interested in taking the bus trip to Northern. I think after last night’s game and the sense of unity that came from students suffering together in the rain, students are going to come together to support the Cards and reaching the 200 student target should not be a problem.
In addition to the football buzz, there’s a lot of talk of basketball season on our campus. The men’s exhibition game had a great turn out in The Nest (for an exhibition game, that is) but that may have done more harm than good. I don’t know much about Marian University from Indianapolis, but I’m guessing we should have easily beaten them, and it was far from easy. The Cards didn’t grab the lead until there was about 3 or 4 minutes left in the game and I think for some of the students the damage has already been done. With Coach Whitford taking over, we had high hopes for the program. There was a lot of talent on the team last year that never seemed fully harvested by Coach Taylor. I think we were all waiting to see great plays by Majok Majok or Jesse Berry, but were all sadly let down. Now I know it was only an exhibition game, but it’s hard to stop thinking that this could be another very long season for the Cards. We can only hope that the team communication improves quickly so that we can start this season off strong.
Not quite a buzz enough is the Women’s Basketball team. I don’t think very many students realize that we were final 16 in the WNIT tournament last year, and that was with 7 players. 7! With new players on the team, plus a ton of experienced leadership among returning members, this women’s season could be a very hot one. I know women’s basketball usually gets a bunch of eye rolls, but our team is definitely under-appreciated by the student body. I hope they realize sooner rather than later that we actually have one heck of a women’s team.
When it comes to MAC teams, I think other conferences in general overlook our teams. However, with schools like Ball State and Northern Illinois, the MAC is making a name for itself in the world of college sports. I think this is going to be a process that changes the culture of a Ball State fan and student. But then again, sometimes I dream big. Until next week, chirp on Ball State.
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