Photo: Luke Galati

Hoops, hopes and togetherness

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By Sean Wetselaar

I’m not a basketball fan. To be honest, I barely pay attention to sports in general.

When I came to Ryerson, I was told about our sports teams, and some of the sports editors at The Eyeopener tried over the years to convince me that things were changing for the athletics department.

I nodded along, sipped my coffee and continued to pay as little attention as I could.

And on a campus dominated by creative hipsters and anti-jocks, I hardly feel my apathy was unusual. But here’s the thing — this weekend our men’s basketball team toppled the two best teams in the country. And it’s a huge fucking deal.

As you’ll read in our sports section this week, our wins over Carleton and the University of Ottawa mark a peak in the quarter of a century of struggle put in by the program.

But our teams winning is about more than just a lot of hours put in at the gym, a lot of blood and sweat, and a lot of money spent painting “Rise With Us” on walls.

Ryerson’s athletics, and the almost unimaginable rise in popularity our school’s sports teams have experienced in the last five years alone, are part of the bigger story of our school.

Ryerson has spent the better part of the last decade and a half or so since it became a full-fledged university searching for an identity. That, much like the awkward soul-searching of many adolescents, has been a long process. But as our little campus grows up, learns to shave and starts packing for college, we’ve slowly settled into a sense of community that I honestly believe Sheldon Levy probably would have called a pipe dream in 2005.

There’s a good chance that you, dear reader, do not care whether our basketball team takes home a national championship this spring — which is looking like an increasingly unridiculous possibility. But I want you to take a minute to smile about it anyway.

Because little by little, trophy by trophy, new program by new program, it seems like we’ve got ourselves a real school here.

A better reputation for the school that will one day sit on your resumé can’t possibly hurt, especially given how much it will likely cost. And let’s be real, it feels pretty good to kick Ottawa’s ass.

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