Students show spirit at Trabant viewing party
Published: Monday, January 10, 2011
Updated: Monday, January 10, 2011 02:01
More than 100 students and alumni gathered in Trabant University Center Friday night to support the Blue Hens in their bid to win the Division 1-AA National Championship. People of all ages sat watching the games on a large screen in the multipurpose rooms, which was decorated with blue and yellow balloons.
Junior Alex Lespinasse showed his team spirit by painting his chest blue and yellow, even though he was not in Texas with the rest of his friends.
"My friends and I called ourselves the paint squad," Lespinasse said. "No matter how cold it is, we paint our bodies. They're in Texas, and I couldn't make it because of Winter Session, so I'm here supporting from Delaware."
Junior Emily Taylor also said many of her friends went to Texas. She said she thought the mix of people in the audience at the viewing party made the atmosphere similar to that of a game. However, watching the game on a large screen has additional benefits, she said.
"It's easier to follow the ball when the camera is showing you," Taylor said.
Several English Language Institute students who attended the party said they did so because they wanted to learn more about their new country. Xiangyu Zhang, originally from China, said she enjoyed watching the game with fellow students.
"I enjoy the atmosphere because the students are enjoying it," Zhang said. "Because we are not American, it's a chance to get into the American culture."
Many alumni also came out to support the Hens. Ken Lomax, who graduated in 1971, said he enjoyed the atmosphere.
"It's not quite as intense as some fan gatherings, but most people are watching," Lomax said.
Assistant Director of Recreation Services Barry Miller, who coordinated the event, said the university has not hosted many viewing parties in the past, but after the good turnout hopes to host another event in the future.
"[It] gives the students some place to watch the game and have a little school spirit, and maybe have a little camaraderie," Miller said.
The mood in Trabant quickly became sullen after Eastern Washington mounted its fourth-quarter comeback. Fans watched in shock as the Hens lost to Eastern Washington in the last minutes of the game.
For one fan, an early prediction became a reality. Senior Jay Kistler commented on the extra point kicker Mike Perry missed in the first quarter.
"I hope they got yelled at because they missed the extra point," Kistler said. "That could come back to bite us."
And it did. In the end, the Blue Hens were defeated by one point in the last minutes of the fourth quarter. Fans started to leave in disappointment before the loss was official.
Even though students were quiet and upset, they remained confident and proud of their team.
Senior Chelise Strickland said even though she was shocked by the loss, she still supports the team.
"They made it that far and they played far," Strickland said. "I'm glad I came out. It was worth supporting them."