Column: Tradition worth continuing: Husky Pride

By: Jonathan Raymond, News Staff

This is, somewhat unfortunately, the last thing I will ever write for this paper. After four years (please don’t hate me, Fight for Five), three of them serving The News in one capacity or another, Northeastern is finally getting rid of me.

So, with one last opportunity to spout off, I suppose I’d like to make a plea to the student body: Keep caring about the Huskies.

The first hockey game at Matthews Arena I attended took place Oct. 21, 2006 against Union. There were 4,082 people in attendance. The last one I made it to was the Feb. 19 3-2 win over BC, with a listed sellout crowd of 4,666 which felt like more. The first basketball game I went to was a Jan. 10, 2007 win over Georgia State with 1,450 in the house. The last, against Louisiana Tech Feb. 20, featured 4,414 at the old barn.

I hope you notice the pattern.

Keep up that momentum. The basketball team will likely not be as good next year as it was this year – support them anyway. The hockey team will probably be better – enjoy that as much as possible. When I entered as a freshman, Northeastern sports were only just slightly beginning to be a worthwhile endeavor. Now they play can’t-miss games.

In the short time I’ve been here, the student body has gone from largely apathetic – outside, of course, the always loyal DogHouse – to surprisingly, even impressively, enthusiastic. Don’t let that fade. The programs being built by men’s hockey coach Greg Cronin and men’s basketball coach Bill Coen have only provided a taste of what they’re capable of. They are worthy of your time and deserve your support (ideally, all of Northeastern’s teams do, of course, but those are the ones that, naturally, put butts in seats).

Keep showing up, even in the off years. Keep making a ticket a tough get. When I came to school, I could walk up with my roommates 10 minutes after puck drop and get into any game we pleased. Now there are lines to pick up tickets in advance in Blackman that form on Wednesdays – a pretty incredible sight.

One of my longtime roommates is a Duke fan, and I never was able to convince him to care about the Huskies. Now, I readily admit there’s no saving Duke fans, but if you and your friends care about sports, there’s no excuse anymore not to care about NU. No, the Colonial Athletic Association will never be the Big East, and even Hockey East college hockey will never be so much as Conference USA college football, but it’s our school, it’s what we have, and if you give it a chance, you’ll find it’s of a damn fine quality.

So go to the games. Buy jerseys. Paint your face, or dress up or whatever. All of it contributes to making the sports at this school worthwhile. Our basketball team was on some ESPN platform or another nine times this year. I’m not sure I would have thought that would have happened even 10 years from when I first started.

And if you’ve gotten anything out of your time following the Huskies while at school, donate to the programs when you graduate. Whatever you can do helps, and it all contributes toward the goal of one day putting our hockey team in the national championship or sending the basketball team on a George Mason or Butler-like run. It may seem implausible now, but at the rate things are moving, it might not be as far off as you think. Our hockey team, after all, that won three games the year before I arrived, earned a No. 2-seed in the NCAA Tournament last year, and our basketball team, that went 13-19 in 2006-07, just barely lost to UConn in the NIT March 16.

I’m excited to be an alumnus, and to go to pre-Beanpot alumni gatherings or the Varsity Club or whatever else the Athletics Department cooks up in the coming years.

But I’m more excited for the students just getting here. Because this school, and these teams, have the potential to be something special.

If I didn’t believe that, I and so many others like me – those at The News, WRBB, the DogHouse and co-ops and work studies in the Athletics Department – wouldn’t have spent so much time expending so much effort on the Huskies.

So please keep it up, Northeastern.

– Jonathan Raymond can be reached
at [email protected]

Leave a Reply