By Sara Bottinelli, Staff Writer
Over the past year, students have watched Young Harris College bring a variety of new and improved resources to campus. While students have watched these new traditions make their mark on the school’s future, they have also received a glimpse from the past as one of the college’s oldest sports has returned to YHC.
Many students have shown an ecstatic attitude towards the return of basketball, while some students seem less than thrilled. Across campus, students have shown their opinions about the sport’s return.
For some, basketball is a chance to get painted up in the “Valley of Doom” – the campus nickname for the new basketball arena. Erin Royston, a freshman from Elberton, expressed her enthusiasm for the upcoming games.
“I’ve always been a fan of basketball; and yes, this is a great way for the school to come together and show its school spirit,” Royston said. “Not only that, one of the players on the boy’s team is from my hometown; so, I’m pumped to be able to cheer him on and get all painted up to watch many victories in the Valley of Doom!”
A lot of commotion was raised YHC prepared for both the men’s and women’s teams to play their first game, which was held last Monday.
The inaugural game ended the 41 year absence of basketball from YHC. Basketball has not been an active sport since 1969. For this reason, students have been pumped about being the first to witness the sport get back in action.
“It’s a whole new experience that is exciting and fun” says Shae Tyndal, an education major from Atlanta.
Not only have these teams been hard at work preparing for the season, but the pep band has also been busy practicing tunes, which will become familiar cheer boosters during all of the games.
“I’m really excited about being in the band with some awesome people, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone get pumped for the first game.” said Zach Chamberlin, a freshman history major from Athens.
Janelle and Jaleesa Morris have also shown their excitement for the players and the band.
“I’m excited about the pep band. That’s my main thing. I’m also excited about seeing the girls play and what they can do,” said Jaleesa Morris, a senior English major from Canton.
Recently, a poll asked students if they were excited about basketball’s return to YHC. While a large majority stated yes, some responded with an indifferent or even negative attitude.
Of the 100 surveyed, 58 percent were excited about basketball’s return, 26 percent stated that they were not excited about basketball’s return and 16 percent seemed unsure of whether they were or weren’t excited about the sport.
Rolando Fernandez, a junior music education major from Canton said he was not very interested in the returning sport.
“I am not very excited about the basketball this season, because we don’t have very many legitimate players,” Fernandez said.
This statement responds to the recent loss of some of the men’s team players, which has drastically cut the amount of players eligible to play.
Other negative responses questioned the school’s priorities when it comes to other sports. So much focus has been placed on YHC basketball that support for other sports such as soccer or baseball seems rather weak.
“Young Harris is putting too much emphasis on basketball. We have plenty of other sports that are very successful and have national championships and they don’t receive as much support. If you support one sport you should support them all,” stated a student who wished to remain anonymous.
Jenni Mathis, an outdoor leadership major from Atlanta also agrees, “I think it’s ridiculous that other sports that have been here for so long are never recognized. I understand that it is a returning sport, but that doesn’t mean other sports shouldn’t be recognized the same way as well.”
Students have expressed some frustration with all the attention that has surrounded basketball, especially when the new Recreation and Fitness Center is taken up to promote or sell the teams.
Regardless of some of animosity present, the majority of YHC students and staff were excited to show their spirit.
“I cannot wait to get painted up for basketball,” said Heather Richbourg, a sophomore biology major from Hayesville.
Even those who don’t attend or work at the college have expressed their enthusiasm. Tron Gibbs, a resident of Blairsville and a fan of basketball, looks forward to the upcoming season.
“It’s really exciting because it’s a sport coming back to the college and this