Rochester College celebrated its first home game in more than 50 years Saturday as the Warriors defeated Great Lakes Christian College 124-45 in front of a sold-out crowd in the new Garth Pleasant Arena.
As a professor at RC for 19 years, this event meant so much — and I’m not highly involved in the basketball program. I can just imagine the delight of the players, coaches and former players. In fact, one of the players who just graduated last year admitted his heart hurt a little bit because he wasn’t able to represent RC in the new arena.
Here are four favorites:
- Arriving an hour before the start and seeing fans lined up around the parking lot waiting to get in. Walking by the line was a time to see alumni, students and parents repping the crimson and white with smiles on their faces on a sunny 60-degree day in February. Yes, you read that correctly. It was 60 degrees and sunny. In Michigan. In February. The Garth Pleasant Arena is not just a building. It is a place for the RC community to gather, to bond, to cheer, to show Warrior spirit.
- Walking in and seeing:
- Todd Warrior Den full of RC gear and concessions
- Shinsky Hall of Fame with a photo of Coach Shinsky
- Sparkling court sporting the RC logo
- Players wearing throwback Vegas gold uniforms
- Nicholas O’Neill doing it right to get the crowd fired up for the game
- RC student section cheering their hearts out.
- Former players lining up to welcome the Warriors as they took the court.
- And that’s all before the game started!
- Watching my slightly introverted husband, Dave Hutson, head of RC’s sports management program and former associate AD, initiate conversations with former students, players and colleagues, such as Jon and Mia Horst, Christian and Hillary (Soule) Adolfsson, Mike Tobin, Francis Ramirez, Chris Carreker, Andrew Gump, Justin Sherlock, Ron Keen, Nate Touri, and many more. He was the social one at this event!
- Seeing my students Angelo Griffis, Jaylen Larry and Vik Merkevicius control the game with their steals, blocks, dunks and goals. Each senior was also honored at halftime—along with their parents. Also loved seeing them go over to the student section after the game to thank them for their support.
And that’s what RC is all about. The community of students, alumni, teachers and parents celebrating, supporting and encouraging each other. Until Saturday, that spirit was somewhat hidden from public view.
Now we have a fancy new arena where the RC community spirit can shine!