Triple threat: Loud voices, excited hearts, a unified crowd

Melissa Leach

It was a cold day in February. Three full busloads of students traveled six hours across the state to watch the men’s basketball team take on the Pittsburgh Panthers. Decked in blue and white they climbed to the top of the fieldhouse amid boos and hollers from a relentless Pittsburgh crowd. Accounting for less than one-fifth of the arena, they still made their presence known as the team took the floor. These students gave the team something they weren’t used to seeing or hearing on the road: support.

For two solid hours, these fans did not waver – they did not sit and they did not fall silent.

Despite a losing outcome and some jeering words from the Pitt fans as they exited the stadium, these fans were not beaten. You see, these weren’t your traditional devoted fans, they were your passionate, be-there-till-the-end, support-you-no-matter- what fans. They were the sixth man, they were the Villanova Basketball Club.

As one of the largest student-run organizations on campus, the Villanova Basketball Club is a place where fans can share their excitement for Villanova basketball as they attend games, meet players and coaches and take road trips up and down the East Coast.

The Villanova Basketball Club is not an organization that is new to this campus. For more than 30 years, the club has been passing down the passion for Villanova basketball to its students as each year they revive old traditions and add new rewards to being a Villanova fan.

“There is a sense of unity that you develop with the teams as a result of joining the club,” says Harry Metzinger, president of the club.

“Being able to speak with players and coaches inspires you, the fan, to be at your best when you’re cheering them on.”

“There is so much more to being a Villanova fan than simply going to the home games, and we open the doors so that our student body can be the best in the nation.”

The 2003-04 season is already seeing a lot of changes for the club. The basketball club has made enhancing support for women’s basketball one of their top priorities. Women’s head coach Harry Perretta is already scheduled to speak at the first meeting on Sept. 8. There will be a question and answer session with Perretta as he speaks about the importance of maximizing Villanova’s support for the women’s team.

The club feels that the more the fans learn about the team, the more excited they will be about supporting them, in turn creating a better fan experience.

Among the renovations is a fully interactive Web site. The Web site gives fans a chance to read and post comments, sign up for the club and view the goals that have been established by present board members.

Along with the new Web site, the club will be developing an alliance with The site, which is operated and maintained by Villanova alumni, is completely dedicated to Villanova sports. Chat rooms and articles posted by inside contacts in Villanova athletics are just some of the many features this site offers the sports fan.

From attending away games to special club T-shirts to hearing players and coaches speak about their experiences – all help fulfill the club’s mission of creating a sense of unity among the fans.

This unity is fittingly summed up by newly elected board member Matt Metzinger. “Being in the club makes the games more enjoyable because I know the ‘Nova Nation is there for the same reason I am: to scream ‘Nova to victory!”

So get on the bus, travel the road, play the game – become a part of the excitement that is Villanova basketball. You have the opportunity to be the sixth player. The basketball club is recruiting you. Are you ready to play?

To learn more about the Villanova Basketball Club or if you wish to become a member, visit their Web site at: www.athletics.villanova. edu/basketballclub, or watch for e-mails announcing upcoming meetings.