We need more of Division 1 feel

In December 2011, I was a high school senior sitting on a couch in my basement back home in Illinois watching a basketball game.

But it wasn’t just any basketball game; it was the Dick Vitale Court dedication game, when UDM played St. John’s on national television.

It was an exciting game. It wasn’t hard to notice the buzz on the court and in the crowd.

Whenever the camera moved to show the rowdy and energetic student section, I remember telling myself ‘I can’t wait to be apart of those games.’

Flash forward to my final semester at UDM and I can say that what I watched on TV that night was not what I encountered during my time here. Not consistently, at least.

I can probably count the number of games I’ve been to at Calihan on two hands where the crowds were similar to the Dick Vitale game.

Sure, a court dedication for a household basketball name on national TV is going to bring a crowd, and a game against U-M Dearborn is not.

But that’s not my point.

We’re a Division 1 school but on most game days, or weekends for that matter, you wouldn’t know it.

Except for last week against Oakland.

I’ll be frank. Last weekend felt like a real college weekend.

People got up early. There was tailgating at Phi Kap and KDR. People went out. The student section was full.

There was a sense of happiness that I don’t know how to explain unless you go to UDM and know what it can be like on the weekends here sometimes.

Now, should college be all about partying? Of course not.

UDM is a strong academic institution. We have great programs, dedicated professors and opportunities that aren’t found at many other universities.

The social aspect of UDM, however, leaves much to be desired.

A college should be about school spirit. It should be about having a large part of the student body consistently having fun together at events like basketball games.

In my mind, last weekend was what I thought college was going to be like every weekend.

Think of what it would be like if Oakland hadn’t joined the Horizon League. There would be homecoming weekend and, well, that’s about it.

This type of atmosphere shouldn’t only happen twice a year, let alone just during the basketball season.

Sure, there will always be parties during the opening weeks of the fall semester. But eventually, as well all know, those parties wear off.

And yes, we all have our organizations and groups with which we make our own fun throughout the year. There’s nothing wrong with that.

I just wish it didn’t take a rivalry or homecoming game to get a big crowd at “Historic Calihan Hall” these days.

A lot of changes have happened at UDM since I was a freshman. There have been renovations, a new road, new streetlights and a new entrance (if it ever gets finished). UDM looks better in 2016 than it did in 2012.

Maybe those changes will continue with other aspects of the school after I graduate.

And maybe, just maybe, when I’m older, whenever I turn on a Titans game, the crowd surrounding Dick Vitale Court will be full.


Walsworth is VN editor-in-chief