Students and parents are always present at Blues basketball games, but a closer look reveals several staff, faculty and townspeople that show up regularly to support our men’s and women’s teams.
“I like to attend sporting events for the same reasons I go to plays, art shows and concerts on campus — they’re fun, but they’re also a chance to support students. I especially enjoy attending if I know some students from class. That definitely contributes to a sense of community on campus,” said Psychology professor Wally Herbranson. “I try to get there for the first tip-off and see both games. It seems like Sherwood gradually fills up during the women’s game, so there’s usually a pretty good crowd to see their finish and the start of the men’s game. Successful teams like our basketball teams make it known that we’ve got a lot more going on here than scholarship.”
The difference in crowd size between the games is noticeable, and the fans of all ages that come out to support are greatly appreciated.
“We love the sport and supporting both men’s and women’s teams,” said Bridget Jacobsen, the Executive Assistant to the Dean of Students. She attends the games with her husband, Scott, and son, Tyler.
“I think that attending sporting events brings the community together, with the intention to root for the same team which is different than watching a play or musical. When I see an athlete, I always try to make small talk to let them know I’m interested in what they are doing. I do see a difference in the attendance between the men’s and women’s games. Unfortunately, the women’s team does not have as much of a following as the men’s team does. I think our Whitman community needs to do a better job supporting student athletes across the board,” adds Jacobsen.
Juli Dunn, the Associate Dean of Students, is also in the stands of nearly every game, cheering the athletes on.
“For me personally, it is so great to see students excelling in other areas of their lives beyond their academics. For my family, this is something we’ve always done. My first 16 years at Whitman were spent in Athletics so to some extent we don’t really know of any other way to spend a winter Friday or Saturday night,” said Dunn.
The regular season ended on Feb. 23, but students, staff, faculty and townspeople are sure to continue to support the men’s team as they take on the NCAA tournament.