Dinos rule the Jack Simpson Gym

By Lawrence Bailey

Athletics and athletes at Canadian universities are wonderful things. They are also horribly misunderstood. Unlike the United States, where 60,000 people pack into stadiums and a top recruit can be a huge financial boon for the institution, Canadian student athletes aren’t gods about campus.

One of the biggest reasons for this is tradition, most Canadian schools don’t have the same community or alumni identification with the athletics of their town or alma mater.

However, another key reason is the rules surrounding scholarships and financing for athletes in Canada. There aren’t $100,000+ deals on the table here and there isn’t the same deification or cult of personality when it comes to our university-level athletes. In fact, a lot of them still hold down part-time jobs, attend all their classes and differ from the rest of us only in that their days are busier and longer. Well, that and the fact that they’re ridiculously fit.

That’s why it’s such a shame our beloved-yet simultaneously beleaguered-Dinos don’t get the support they truly deserve.

The University of Calgary has a lengthy tradition of being highly competitive on the national stage. We have a plethora of national championship banners hanging in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium and in a few other spots around campus. Our volleyball, wrestling and swimming programs are perennial contenders while other sports including soccer, basketball and football, have rich traditions. Still, attendance is low and fans are less than rowdy.

That all changes with you.

I implore this year’s crop of incoming students to give live university sports a chance. Get a crew of 10 or 20 people out to a football game at McMahon Stadium, bring some liquid courage, make a hell of a lot of noise and have a great time. After all, admission is free for students and the games wrap up around 10 p.m., just in time to head out for an even rowdier time. What better way to get the adrenaline pumping than watching a bunch of your classmates lay waste to foes from all across Western Canada.

Football not your thing? Then head down to the Jack every Friday and/or Saturday for some top notch volleyball or basketball. The stands make noise on their own and nothing, I repeat nothing, beats heckling opposing teams and their fans, especially when you’re in the third row and they’re getting a severe beatdown from the red, white and gold.

When you’re a student you quickly realize that free means good, so get off your ass and head down to a Dinos game or 10. They’re a ton of fun and free to boot-although you will have to pay for your own "party favours."

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