Capital Hoops. The student basketball event of the semester.
The crowd gathers. The tension rises.
Outside, in the freezing winter of Ottawa, buses roll up to the Canadian Tire Centre and hundreds of students descend on the arena. A blur of reds and busy voices and teenagers bubbling with school pride and cheap booze. The jibes begin early as the Carleton and Ottawa students file through the large doors side by side.
I am, of course, biased in this situation. I have seen my teams play before, I know their names and their skills and weaknesses. I wear my school’s red and black colours with pride and I support my Ravens through victory and defeat.
We have been oppositions for decades. The Carleton Ravens and the Ottawa Gee-Gees. Your first question is bound to be: What is a Gee-Gee? Well, I think everyone asks this when they first hear of Ottawa’s mascot. A Gee-Gee is the name of a horse. The Ottawa University’s colours are grey and garnet, which is a shade of deep red.
The Carleton fans are loud and excited and we roar throughout the entire evening.
The women’s basketball has already begun when we arrive. The turnout is disappointing but apparently it is expected that people only turn-up for the men’s game. It makes me sad that these girls train so hard and do not get the same support as their male counterparts. There is something inherently unjust about the whole thing. If these girls had different parts in their pants then they could play the court with all the glory and roaring cheers and adoration that the men receive.
The women’s game is tense and close. Erik and I yell and cheer and freak out at good defense and gasp at lost rebounds. The game is energising and thrilling. Ottawa wins in the end but the Carleton girls put up an incredible fight.
Shea, Shannon, Morgane and her friends arrive before the men’s game begins. We grab hotdogs and pizza and beer in anticipation. The crowd gathers. The tension rises. Fans cheer and jeer at each other. The cheerleaders prep for the game and the parents of players take their seats at the edge of the court. And in a matter of minutes the game begins.
Both teams fight hard. The cheerleaders and dancers put on a good show. The mascots are funny and the fans are having an awesome time. But the game is not as nail-biting as the first. We thrash Ottawa throughout the first and second quarter. The Gee-Gees make a good comeback in the third quarter. But we finish them off in the fourth quarter: 82 – 58. The atmosphere and the players made the night.
But in my books, the women were the unsung warriors of the evening.
Photo Credit to Erik and Morgane.