I distinctively remember my college search. Early into it, I had decided that I wanted to go to a big school because the big schools had the more exciting sports teams. I was always a good student and wanted to study hard, but I was overly concerned about the reputation of the sports teams at the schools I chose to visit. I wanted to stand shoulder to shoulder in a packed stadium, shamelessly rooting on my team. I wanted to walk into a sporting goods store and see my school’s paraphernalia hanging on the rack. Then I visited those schools and realized I belonged somewhere else.
The minute I stepped onto the campus of University of Richmond, I felt this instant connection. It felt like home. I immediately proclaimed that this was where I was going to attend college. There was only one problem. UR is a school of 3200 people. At the time, our sports teams were really nothing to write home about. I remember the time the school packed the Robins Center because we were going up against Syracuse on ESPN. Or the time my roommate and I huddled around our 13” boob tube and cheered Spider bball onto victory over Kansas. That night, Westhampton Green was TP’d to the max! Then there was the time my friend and I missed the bus to my sorority social because we were intently watching our NCAA first round loss to Wisconsin. In retrospect, these moments are particularly memorable to me because they are not expected to happen. When the Spiders hit the big time, I am filled with pride and joy!
This past weekend we won our first ever A-10 championship and sailed into The Big Dance! We’re up against Vanderbilt on Thursday. One of the ladies in my Bible study went to Vandy, so I have done my research and come armed with trash talk. She hasn’t responded to my text message. I think she has ARACHNOPHOBIA! I cannot fly out to Denver, but am comforted that my friend, Karen and fellow Spiders, are out there rockin’ the red, cheering us on to the next round!
I am pretty sure had I gone to a big school known for sports, I would expect my team to make the tournament each year. It wouldn’t be nearly as exciting! Not to mention aren’t you supposed to go to school to learn instead of to earn the biggest fan award? Don’t tell my boss where I am, but I’m sneaking out of work early on Thursday. Find me sittin’ on a bar stool decked out with Spider pride!
We’re dancing! WE ARE. UR.