Why are people attending intramural events over elite athletics?
House cup season is in full swing after a full month of face paint, quirky signs, and the best game you can name.
The first of many face-offs took place Jan 21st between the TNT Tigers and the Chillis Chicks, the only two all-girl houses on campus. Both teams garnered an outstanding turnout of fans, plastered head to toe in their team’s respective colours.
First year Chillis player, Larissa Hanhart opened the game with Chillis’ first and only goal. After two periods of evenly matched performance from both teams, TNT answered back with four goals, earning them a 4-1 win and a four-year winning streak.
The following weekend, campus was overrun by LaSer fans. Whether sporting red trucker hats in support of Fraser, or navy bandanas in support of Lane Hall, students gathered to watch the Phantoms take on the Pitbulls.
Although Fraser is small in comparison to the rivalling powerhouse across campus, the tiny but mighty house remarkably managed to score three early goals against Lane Hall. Lane came back with three goals, tying the game and bringing it into overtime which they went on to win. All four teams raised money for their respective charities through ticket sales.
Bathtub Cup followed on February 10th, where Riley Hall triumphed over fellow "new residence" O'Regan.
The next house cup to take place will be TriMac, a series of games between MacPherson, MacDonald, and MacNeil, but Trimac is not by any means the next significant hockey game to take place at the Keating Memorial Centre.
Our X-Men hockey team is set to play against Acadia University in a playoff game on Feb 27th at 7pm, in the same exact arena where students recreationally support their houses with trivial banter and cheers. The X-Women hockey team is also set to play soon at the KMC on Feb 26th against St. Thomas. Both varsity hockey teams have had success thus far in the year, and yet the focus on campus enters around intramural. As the varsity hockey seasons and house cup season begin to overlap, one has to wonder why the latter is drawing more fans.
StFX has a top-notch athletics program and is always a force to be reckoned with in the AUS and U-Sports communities, therefore there is no doubt that our varsity hockey teams can put on entertaining, high intensity, exciting games. If the problem isn’t a matter of entertainment or pace, then why is it that students are mostly partaking in house cups? Maybe a hypothetical divide between varsity athletes and non-varsity athletes has put up barriers for our school teams to have their peers come out and support them. The lack of attendance at varsity games may also be because the friends of the players are other athletes that are either on the same team or busy with their own training. Perhaps the suspense and emotional investment of a house cup leaves particular spectators more excited than they would be at one of the frequent and common X-Men/Women hockey games.
StFX is famous for its traditions, and its residences are no exception. The houses at this school have unique dynasties that have outlasted the very walls of the buildings they occupy. Some students might identify as Burke Brawlers or MacDonald Highlanders before ever referring to themselves as X-Men/Women. When you cheer for your house, you are cheering for your neighbours, your upper year mentors, and most likely some of the first friends you ever made at university. To attend a house cup is to be associated or involved with the teams and its members on a personal level, and it gives you a sense of belonging. If you’re lucky enough for the game to end in your favour, you’ll be just as much of a winner as those who laced up their skates and got on the ice. This is why house cups traditions have become almost as dear to the Xaverian heart as the X-Ring itself.
StFX pride is an interesting notion because students not only have pride in the school, but they also have heavy ties to where they lived at the beginning of their time here. The residence that a student lives in can be a big deal, and for some it will influence the rest of their lives. At the end of our degrees, we will move on with memories, stories and one hand particularly heavier than the other. StFX might be a community where members should cheer on one another, but residence can be a family that leaves you emotionally attached, and this is why house cups are kind of a big deal.
*This article was updated from print to account for the dates of upcoming varsity hockey games.