Column: Night Time Soccer Matches On Newton Provide Gratifying Sense Of Community
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
The first few weeks of college life for any freshman are often the most hectic. Acclimating to the rigorous demands of schoolwork, a new dormitory lifestyle, and opportunities for social life make the days fly by one after the other. There rarely is a moment to catch your breath. Time shadows your every move. You run from chemistry to Spanish, from College Democrats to 4Boston, from Gonzaga to the Plex without taking the time to stop and think. What was it about Boston College in the first place that attracted you to fill out that application? Have you found what you were searching for in your college experience yet? Have you even had a moment to try?
A couple weeks ago, I took a short stroll to the far end of Newton Campus. On a damp and muggy Friday night, the BC men’s soccer team was hosting the No. 4 Maryland Terrapins. After thunderstorms had delayed the game for nearly an hour, kickoff got underway shortly after 8 p.m. Walking sluggishly from my dorm room, I half-expected the crowd to be sparse and detached from the action. I couldn’t even reason throwing on my golden Superfan shirt that sat tauntingly on my dresser.
Not even a few steps into the night, however, I began to perceive the faint echoes of chants resounding from the soccer complex. With every step, the shrills grew louder and louder. Had I missed a goal? Had the goalie just made an incredible save? I could only wonder. I quickly picked up my gait, even breaking out into a slight jog in lieu of the anticipation. I reached the field in light of a game that was just in its genesis. The scoreboard in the corner read 42:00. The score was 0-0. Great. Nothing had happened.
By now, I had pinpointed the source of the shouts and screams that were traversing the night air with a peculiar acuteness. Much to my surprise, a sea of gold had amassed in the far section of the bleachers, bellowing their own homemade medley of soccer-appropriate chants. I found my place toward the back of the choir and began to assimilate into the Superfan soccer tradition.
As the score ever so slightly began to tilt in favor of the Terrapins, however, I began to take note of the reaction from our very own Superfans. Certainly, I figured the lateness of the hour and the affinity for the first Friday night of the year would lure students out of the stadium. But such was not the case. As the score billowed from 1-0, to 2-0, and so on, the vivacity of the loyal Superfans only increased. The “Oles” grew louder, the fight song intensified, and the taunts toward the Terrapins became a little more hostile. There would be no denying the presence of the Superfan contingent for the entire 90 minutes. You wouldn’t dare to leave your place before the clock struck 0:00.
Despite the unfortunate defeat for the Eagles, I left the game and headed back to my dorm with a particular degree of satisfaction—not so much for the soccer as for the display of the Superfans. Every chant, every ritual, every seemingly sadistic joke toward a Terrapin player highlighted the pillars of the BC community that had influenced my decision to attend. Just like our own team, the Superfans were never ready to capitulate their faith and allegiance. Their energy and enthusiasm fueled a team that was facing an uphill battle for much of the game. On a night where every tackle seemed to fall the Terrapins’ way, Superfans provided that glimmer of hope—hope that the next moment would be ours.
For a night with such lowly expectations, it was such a gratifying feeling to have discovered this element of faith and community prevalent amidst a bunch of screaming hooligans. As if that was what I was looking for when I headed out my dormitory door. Leave it to a bunch of soccer fanatics to show you the way, I guess. Perhaps that is just it, though. You never know what you are destined to discover until you get out there on your own. It might only be the first few weeks of school, but the opportunities for exploration are abound. Take a moment and a give it a shot. Go for a stroll. Join in a Superfan rendition. Who knows what you will find.