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Column: A Semester Abroad Can Make Superfans More Appreciative Of BC Sports

Heights Senior Staff

Published: Monday, April 30, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

Before I begin, let me preemptively apologize for what should prove to be a rusty column. Let’s just say I might have to seek a second opinion on the flow of this thing. I haven’t spilled my journalistic guts in what seems like ages now.

You see, I’m currently abroad in London for the semester. For the last four months, I have witnessed nothing short of exceptional sights. I traveled Europe for three weeks straight, even a few days by my lonesome. The lessons I have learned about myself have far exceeded the academic knowledge I will retain from this experience (although, with three finals in the next 10 days, I should probably change that).

Let’s just say they do things right here in England, from an education standpoint. Classes encourage you to read independently, up to 80 pages a week for some, rather than hear an esteemed professor spoon-feed information twice or thrice weekly. Grades above 70 are considered amazing, almost impossible to achieve. Did I mention that certain collegiately appropriate activities are legal and encouraged here?
Yes, I know what you are thinking. Blimey, indeed.

But I digress. This whole abroad thing really isn’t everything it’s hyped up to be. Especially if you are an unhealthily obsessed sports fanatic like myself.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m that annoying guy who thinks he knows everything about Minnesota sports and anything Boston College related. Actually, I know I do. My life on the Heights consisted of watching hockey games, reading ATLEagle, and perusing the box scores, interviews and postgame recaps for the secrets behind every match.

When I came to London, I didn’t have a language barrier to break, but I had my own competitive fire to overcome. A simple one-hour time difference from my CST stomping ground became an insurmountable six-hour gap. No longer was I able to take the press pass, walk three minutes to Conte, and have collegiate hockey broken down to me in less than 15 minutes by Jerry.

Worst of all, pubs advertise ESPN on their doors and signs. If you call the eclectic and thrilling mix of soccer, billiards, dog racing, rugby, and cricket “entertainment and sports,” then by all means quit reading now. We probably shouldn’t be friends.

To students here, sport is equivalent to recreation. Our “rivalry” with Kings College London is based on research rankings rather than which team pulverizes the other at TD Garden every year.

I craved goals, home runs, three-pointers … anything.

So I stayed up till 3 a.m. if it meant watching Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio start a revolution in Minneapolis.

I went to the most terrible American dive bar to watch not one, but two No. 2 seeds get knocked out early of the NCAAs.

I woke up several of my flatmates with what were probably obnoxious screams of joy on one glorious Easter eve.

Some of the greatest sports moments I have ever been a part of will always remind me of London. I passed up numerous nights out on the town to remain true to my teams, and I don’t regret it one bit.

Throughout it all, though, there was one thing missing: company. Fandom, spirit, exuberance. It’s what sports are about, and what we do quite well in Chestnut Hill. It’s easy to forget sometimes just how great our athletic programs are.

Yeah, you might fantasize about a home stadium like The Big House. You might dream of a student section like the Crazies in Cameron.

But ladies and gentlemen, you have no idea of the wealth you have witnessed. A national championship, a top-10 NFL pick, an instant NHL playoff phenomenon, and—as always—a marathon. All of that in four months.

When I come back to BC next fall, don’t ask me about my adventures. You won’t want to hear them. Fellow Eagles, I want to hear your stories.

Because studying abroad can be about finding yourself, but I miss my community and the sports that facilitated that aura about BC better than any other aspect of our campus.

Superfans, what I miss most about BC is you. Until we are reunited next fall, I’ll keep singing.

For Boston, for Boston, I sing our proud refrain.

Can’t wait to add the we.”

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