School pride

Image via Douglas College athletics

Why you should be checking out the Royals

By Eric Wilkins, Assistant Editor

This is my fourth year at the Other Press. I’ve always been a sports guy—always will be—but honestly, the thought of following the Royals was never even close to being a point of interest when I arrived. The last thing I wanted to do was head around the Lower Mainland watching what I’d always perceived as a clear second-rate college team take on similar nobodies. With nobody watching. And really, why should I have felt any differently?

Douglas College has received a rap as a “commuter college” in the past. Get in. Get out. No one sticks around. There’s no community. Many barely interact with the people actually in their classes. From what I’d heard from friends, pub nights and other school events were often met with mixed results.

When I took over as Sports Editor last year, I was determined to give Royals athletics a real shot. If I opened myself up to the possibility of caring, maybe I would. So, I started my adventure into the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association with the soccer season. For someone on the fence about watching college athletics, soccer was the worst choice. Not that I was expecting more going in, but the weather can be wild and unpredictable and the spectators’ areas are often nothing more than a set of cold and wet metal bleachers.

I’ve trekked out to some miserable locations via our fantastic transit system. I’ve stood in the pouring rain with a notebook in one hand, a pen in the other, a camera slung about my neck, and an umbrella gamely held by whichever unfortunate friend I managed to con into accompanying me. I’ve struggled through pieces when the teams have lost, and groaned when I’ve found my notes to be nothing more than a soggy mess at the bottom of my bag upon arriving home. I’ve had to be that annoying reporter tossing the clichéd questions to our understandably miffed athletes after tight ones, and the guy sitting by himself in a gym loosely populated with a few Royals’ parents—and a contingent from the visiting team. Needless to say, there’ve been many instances where it wasn’t fun.

But that goes for anything.

Each and every sport and team had at least one moment that made it all worth it. The women’s soccer team dominating their final game. The men’s volleyball team clinching gold at Provincials. The softball team trouncing all comers on a regular basis. And, perhaps my favourite of all, the women’s basketball team upsetting Vancouver Island University in overtime of the semi-final game at Provincials in front of a packed gym.

The sweat. The tears. The great grins from ear-to-ear when all the work in the weight room and practice pays off. The exultant roars of victory. The cries of jubilation. The embraces. The high-fives. The hardware.

Watching Douglas College sports isn’t just for the players and their friends and families—it should be for all students. For those who complain about the lack of a college vibe at Dougie, please take a moment: where does that vibe come from? The students. Whining about the lack of pride and then being completely apathetic about putting any effort into doing something about it seems to be a relatively self-explanatory situation.

So you know what? Come on out to a game sometime. Cheer on your Royals. Get a little rowdy even. Who knows, you might just enjoy yourself.