The Maryville men's basketball game experience
As the semester comes to an end, athletes here on campus are truly put to the test. Not only do they have to deal with the stress of everyday practice, but they are also slammed with final exams and projects. Saturday afternoon, the mens team had a game against UMSL and I thought it would be interesting to attend and give students an idea of what basketball games here are like.
Upon arrival, one of the first tings that caught my eye was the “Free Food and Drink” sign. As a college student, I feel by offering free anything you are going to entice and audience to come. In addition to this, I was also surprised while watching the game and realizing I know, or have had a class with nearly all of the players, which made it much more interesting.
As the game progressed, the energy level in the arena grew enormously as the Saints made a furious comeback. Along with the team getting the crowd fired up, the mascots and half time showed also provided the audience with numerous forms of entertainment.
One of the most exciting things that occurred at the game was a half time show that featured a game of musical chairs between some younger kids in the crowd. Halftime also featured a chance for contestants to win a Jets Pizza gift card by making a half court shot.
When the second half began, the Saints continued to chip away at the Tritons lead and eventually tied it up with a clutch three pointer from Junior, Jeff Leeson. Although UMSL pulled away at the end, the Saints put forward a great effort and left nothing on the table.
When I caught up with Junior, Evan Booker, he talked about the game and told me “We should have had them.” He also explained that he liked playing here on campus because he “Plays with all of his friends, and he loves playing the game.”
When I asked Junior, Nolan Berry, what he like most about playing he said he “loves to compete.”
Both athletes have finals approaching and Booker explained he balances his time be “remembering what I’m here to do, and stay focused on my schoolwork. It is easy to slack off and not do the work but I know if that happens, I will not be on the team anymore.”
It is truly impressive when speaking with our athletes here on campus, and to see the level of dedication they have to have both on and off the court. After playing a game on a Saturday afternoon, these athletes still have to be prepared for a week full of final exams, and also deal with whatever is going on in their personal lives.
From beginning to end, the game did a great job of representing our school in a positive way. Although the outcome was not what I hoped for, the activities that take place during breaks and at halftime allowed students to enjoy themselves and even win prizes!