In November, I went to the home opener for the Wesmen men’s basketball team. It had been awhile since I had seen a Wesmen game, but I had high expectations from past experiences at the Duckworth Centre.
The team fulfilled my expectations.
However, the turnout of the crowd did not.
Half the court was closed off and the rows that were open were nearly empty.
The Wesmen men’s basketball team currently holds a 5-3 record for their 2012-13 regular season which is the best record they’ve had in a long time.
So I don’t get it - where is the love for Wesmen basketball?
I understand it’s cold out and that parking downtown isn’t ideal, but with the team doing this well, they deserve support at their home games.
However, don’t take it from me - here are the top five reasons, from the players themselves, why you shouldn’t be missing out on this year’s season.
1. “It’s a chance to witness history in the making. We’re doing big things this year and you will want to be there when it happens.”
- Seaton George, fifth year forward.
Cocky? No, just confident. The Wesmen are ranked second in the Canada West Conference.
Judging by their dominance shown on the court, it’s evident that they have high expectations for themselves and of each other. Fans can tell when athletes have pure passion for the game and Wesmen players are no exception.
2. “Our team has a lot of new talent who are experienced playing at college level in the United States.”
- Jordan Clennon, third year guard.
Clennon was previously named Wesmen Player of Week and spent two years playing at Missouri State University - West Plains.
If you’ve watched college basketball in the U.S. then you’ve seen the environment these guys are used to playing in - high energy fans and nonstop action starting at tip off running straight to the last quarter. Every minute is engaging and from what I’ve seen so far these guys have definitely brought the hype with them.
3. “We bring strong athleticism, high basketball IQ and smart plays to every game.”
- Steven Wesley, fourth year forward.
Wesley’s individual stats currently rank him 30th across the entire country in men’s CIS basketball. That’s kind of a big deal. Educated players make smart plays that crowds enjoy and, more importantly, appreciate watching.
You can count on the Wesmen players to keep you engaged and entertained when watching them on the court.
4. “Before each game there’s a tailgating party that’s free for students and held in the Duckworth Centre.”
- Benny Iko, fifth year forward.
Iko was recently named Canada West Male Athlete of the Week, CIS Player of the Week, and Wesmen Player of the Week. These accomplishments are highlights of his university career that he won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
There will never be a time in your life that compares to your experiences as a university student and watching university-level sports will definitely be something you remember. Tailgating included.
5. “Our games are only $5 for students to come out and watch.”
- Andrew Cunningham, fourth year guard.
Checking out a game is cheaper than going to the movies, buying a Big Mac meal or parking downtown for the entire day. Everyone knows university students are on a budget, so skip the Venti latte from Starbucks for a day and use that cash to check out a game instead.
If you live in Winnipeg and are a basketball fan, your options for watching live games are pretty limited.
So, why not take advantage of the games we do have access to, especially if our teams are talented?
The 46th Annual Wesmen Classic is scheduled for Dec. 28 to Dec. 30 at the Duckworth Centre.
For schedules and the latest Wesmen news, check out www.wesmen.ca
Michelle Gazze is a freelance writer and sports enthusiast who volunteers in Winnipeg’s newcomer community and inner city. She is a University of Winnipeg business administration alumnus and currently works at the Global Welcome Centre for Immigrants and Refugees. Follow her on Twitter: @michellegazze.
Published in Volume 67, Number 14 of The Uniter (December 7, 2012)