March 4, 2008
The crowd stands, students cheer and the teams hold their breath as the game comes down to the last few seconds. Everyone waits with excitement when the last shot is taken.
In January, one of those closing moments featured a half-court buzzer-beater by Oklahoma Baptist University's Evan Grace to defeat rival Oklahoma City University.
That type of play is just bonus for OBU fans. From November to March a crowd is drawn to the OBU's Noble Complex to watch Bison and Lady Bison basketball games. However, for senior Francis Edwards it is more than just watching the game.
"It is the thrill of the close interaction with your players and the team," said Edwards. "You actually get to reach out and touch the players."
A committed fan since his freshman year, Edwards shows his excitement even outside of the gym. By getting to know the players and making all the home games part of his schedule, he shows his enthusiasm throughout the season.
"Knowing them personally makes you more emotionally attached to the game," said Edwards. "You get to give them a high-five if they get taken out and be with them during all parts of the game."
At the game, Edwards shows his support not only through high-fives and cheering, but supports the team by dressing up in different costumes and apparel.
"When you dress up, you're more noticed. It gives the small school game a big school atmosphere," said Edwards.
Basketball games bring students together behind the team's bench to show their support as a whole. Edwards said that the game unites students as they grab each other's shoulders and link arms in suspense. He also views the game as a way to unite the students with their professors.
"It's fun to watch the professors on the other side enjoying the game. You get to call out their name, watch them play with their kids and see them really get into the game," said Edwards. "It has helped me be more interactive with them outside of class because we can talk about basketball and the games."
For five months Edwards shows his school spirit through his enthusiasm during basketball games. However, the end of a season does not get Edwards' same excitement.
"It's the thing I'm going to miss most about school," said Edwards. "When the season is over school isn't the same. I feel like something is missing, like I need to pack up and start getting things ready to go."