Lakehead University has varsity athletics?
By Krysten Cripps
The majority of the schools in the OUA have a football team, and where there’s football, there’s homecoming weekend. Yes, half of the students who attend homecoming festivities might not even know who’s playing or even make it to the game, but they show school spirit and the game is packed. I’ve attended homecoming events; I know what it is. I bet you’re wondering what this has to do with Lakehead? I’ll tell you. Lakehead doesn’t have a football team, so we must not have a homecoming, right? The majority of the student population must assume this, not know about homecoming, or not care to go. After attending the homecoming hockey game every year throughout my university career (5 years to be exact), I would have to say this year was the least spirited and least student filled arena I have ever seen. This is very disappointing because I feel like university athletics have the ability to bring a university together and build community. Even if you don’t know anything about the team or the sport, it still feels good to put on your cobalt and blaze (those are our school colours, in case you were wondering), and go cheer for your school with your friends.
Our varsity sports teams are very underrepresented within our school community, which is very unfortunate because although Lakehead might not always have the best teams, there are a lot of very gifted athletes who wear a Thunderwolves jersey. Last year, names like Kevin Tree, Bacarius Dinkins, Emma Horner, and many more, were names that would not go unrecognized within the OUA because they are some of the best in the province, country, and even world, in their respective sports. Kevin Tree, Thunderwolves cross-country runner, represented Canada at the FISU World University Cross Country Running Championship where he was the fastest Canadian and finished 25th overall. Dinkins, a member of the Lakehead men’s basketball team, was awarded CIS Male Athlete of the Week at the end of January 2016 and was named an OUA second-team all-star to finish a great season, alongside teammate Henry Tan. Emma Horner, Thunderwolves women’s wrestler, captured a silver medal at OUAs for the 3rd time in her university career. This is just an extremely small sample of what these athletes have accomplished alongside their teammates in the past year.
Don’t even think about trying to talk about club teams – no, not intramurals, club teams. Teams like these still have great athletes, but the school just doesn’t fund them in the same way as varsity athletics. Take a second and try to name 3 club teams. Was that hard? It shouldn’t have been, considering you have about 13 to choose from. Last year, the Lakehead women’s hockey team was the first Canadian hockey team ever to join the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). Two athletes from the Lakehead University club jump rope team, Eilea Given and Kaitlyn Simpson, placed first in the World Jump Rope grand championship in July 2015. I don’t know about you, but I think achievements like this should not go unrecognized by the majority of the school’s population.
Many of these teams and athletes go highly unrecognized within our school’s community. So, I encourage you all to get out there and go watch a game, talk to an athlete, ask them about their season or congratulate them. The 2016/2017 season is only beginning for these athletes so it’s hard to say who are going to be the all-stars this year, but I’m sure there are going to be many more exceptional athletes and teams making big waves in their respective sports this season – so why not go be a part of it?