Why you should go to the homecoming game this weekend

It’s not about sports; it’s about community

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PSU Vikings play Northern Arizona this Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, noon–5:30 at Providence Park. Stella Crabtree/Vanguard Archives

Portland State is a special place. As a good friend of mine recently said, many of the students here were the weirdest kid in town wherever they grew up, and they came here to be part of the wonderful weirdness that is PSU. That might be true.

But in addition to that, students here are all about the important, relevant topics of our time: sustainability, equality, justice and community. Given the events of the past year and recent weeks, and the pervasive divisiveness in society at large, we need to focus on the community aspect for a minute.

One of the most common, unspoken challenges of adjusting to university life is the potential for students to be lonely, disconnected, lacking the human connection that something like a few hours yelling at the top of their lungs in a football stadium with their friends can provide. A distraction. A pressure valve. A release.

University life can be stressful. If you’re new in town and don’t know too many people, you might not have had the time to be social yet. Students today do much more than just go to class. We hold jobs, are active in our communities, volunteer, participate in clubs, religious affiliations, and more. We make ourselves so busy and keep track of it all with our constant connection to digital devices.

One of the most dangerous places for an individual to be is alone among a sea of people. In a recent New York Times article, Frank Bruni explains the technologically adept students of today “too easily substitute virtual interactions for physical ones, withdrawing from their immediate circumstances and winding up lonely as a result.” This weekend’s homecoming game presents the perfect opportunity to round up your hall mates, reject the virtual world and saunter on down to Providence Park for some good old-timey community fellowship.

Not convinced? PSU President Rahmat Shoureshi is game. “My experience has been that I have seen athletic events bring a university campus together,” Shoureshi said. “And anything that can bring the campus together, I am all for it.”

If that’s still not enough, here’s a top ten list of why you should get your free tickets and show up for the event:

10. For once in your life, it’s socially acceptable to get drunk at noon. The tailgate party features feasting of epic proportions. “Tonight, we drink like Vikings; tomorrow, we sleep like lambs,” said Victor E. Viking.

9. This is your team. “[The students of PSU] are just like us,” said head football coach Bruce Barnum in a pre-season interview. “It’s a multi-cultural campus; we’re a multi-cultural team. It’s about the total college experience. Come watch your team. Come support ‘em.”

8. Imagine thousands of PSU students gathered in one, tightly packed section of the stadium, roaring in unison loud enough to rock the foundations of Valhalla. “Our team has the most fun at home when the student section is rocking,” Barnum said. “When we pack our section, it’s a fun time. Come experience college-football Saturday; see what it’s about.”

7. Have fun culturally appropriating my Norse ancestors and wear a horned helmet on your head.

6. The weather is gonna be great….maybe. Let me get back to you on that one.

5. These athletes train, study, and give back to the community all year round. “People don’t see our guys at the soup kitchens, giving back to the community, all the training, all the other stuff,” Barnum said. “This is our final exam as a team. This is how everyone will grade us.” The Vikings deserve our support.

4. You get to watch muscular dudes with nice butts run around in tight pants. If you’re into that sort of thing.

3. Your tickets are already paid for.

2. You can line up your friends, paint a letter on each belly, and spell words together.

1. Absolutely no one should feel like they are alone, unwelcome, or unappreciated on our campus. If you know of someone who appears to be left out, disconnected, or feeling down, ask them to join you at the game this weekend. You never know, you might just build a bond between yourselves—and this unique, weird, magical university—that you’ll maintain for a lifetime.

Portland State of Mind Homecoming Football Game and Pregame Party: PSU Vikings play Northern Arizona this Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, noon–5:30 p.m. Providence Park: 1844 SW Morrison St. It’s about a ten-minute walk north of campus. Don’t party and drive. Tickets are free for students at the PSU Box Office. You can also call Trinity Gibbons, tjg@pdx.edu, 503-725-5667.

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