An introduction to the athletics at Lakehead University and importance of school spirit
By: Brady Coyle, Staff Writer
As the Beach Boys once sang, be true to your school and let your colours fly.
For those Lakehead students who feel as though Orientation Week did not quite quench their thirst for school spirit, fear not. Autumn brings the university athletic season to Thunder Bay, and there is plenty to be excited for.
Lakehead has a number of both varsity and club athletic teams. Generally, varsity teams will compete in the Ontario University Association (OUA), and participate in a competitive league against other Ontario-based universities. Clubs are also associated with Lakehead, but will play in independent leagues that are not necessarily affiliated with academic institutions.
The fall kicks off the season for Lakehead’s varsity basketball, cross-country, track and field, wrestling, men’s hockey, and women’s volleyball teams. Lakehead’s only other varsity team is Nordic skiing, which begins in the winter semester.
Representing Lakehead at the club level are the Thunderwolves baseball, cheerleading, curling, dance, golf, rugby, soccer, ultimate Frisbee, equestrian, alpine skiing, women’s hockey, and men’s volleyball teams.
Varsity teams often require those athletes interest to have trials in order to be a member of the team; club teams, however, tend to do without the process. Many of Lakehead’s clubs encourage students to come out and participate, whether they have experience in the sport or not.
While university sports may not be an attraction to all students, there are many reasons to attend the competitions beyond the event itself. Varsity and club athletics both offer the opportunity for students to bond with their fellow Thunderwolves and build school spirit.
“I remember feeling a tremendous amount of school spirit going to the LU hockey games,” says Chris Zytaruk, a fourth-year student at Lakehead. “I love the school pride associated with athletics.”
Knowledge of a sport – or lack thereof – is often found to be irrelevant at university sporting events. Instead, the most important factor is being in an atmosphere where there is a communal passion amongst those in attendance. Similar environments are found at events like air shows, hunting expos, or comic book conventions. The joy often comes from being surrounded by those who share your passions, rather than the event itself.
Lakehead athletics doesn’t only offer the opportunity for the school community to come together; the Thunderwolves also represent citywide pride. Without any professional Thunder Bay sports franchises, Thunderwolves games bring spectators from all over the city. It’s extremely rare to find an event where all those in attendance are students.
Whether competitive in nature or just as an enjoyable social event, Lakehead University sports offer a wonderful experience for all students.
For any students looking to get involved in athletics at a non-competitive level, there are Lakehead intramurals. Information regarding intramurals, as well as varsity or club athletics and the schedules of any team, can be found at the Lakehead athletics website.