This year, my friends and I have vowed to attend as many UVA sporting events—and support as many student athletes—as we can. With fall sports coming to a close and basketball season getting underway, I’m excited to look back on my top three favorite things about being a UVA sports fan, this season, and for many seasons to come.
1. The Swag
We are always sure to get to games early, not just to get great seats, but also to get our hands on some high-fashion, completely free UVA merch. We have a collection of posters, mugs, t-shirts, scarves, and even some neon orange fanny packs, all courtesy of UVA athletics. Plus, games are one of the few socially acceptable occasions for us to rock our array of bright orange fashion.
2. Supporting Women Athletes
In the spirit of the Women’s Center’s mission, we are always happy to support our women athletes. Often, men’s basketball and football dominate discussion of UVA sports, but our women’s swim and dive team is a force to behold, and we know the hours of hard work each week put in by our rowers, so we always make sure to show up for our Lady Cavaliers! Our current women student athletes are a part of a much longer journey to bring gender equity to sports, and there’s no denying the obstacles women throughout history have faced in engaging in the level of competition promised by collegiate sports. We hope our support can be a small token of appreciation for this broader journey. We’ve really enjoyed showing up for our women’s soccer, field hockey, and volleyball teams this season more than ever, and we’re so excited to go to as many women’s basketball games as possible!
3. Being a part of Something Bigger than Winning
Supporting UVA sports is about something much bigger than the game. This past year has been extremely challenging, both in my personal life and as a part of the UVA community. Sports has given me the opportunity to bond with the people around me—one look around the stadium, and I see so many faces of folks who all care about the same thing: the Hoos. Win or lose, we are always able to look forward to the atmosphere of the game. Whether it’s screaming our lungs out at a basketball game, or singing the Good Old Song in the rain, being a fan of the Hoos has brought me closer to the people I care about, and it’s connected me to a broader community of Cavaliers. Whenever I’m supporting the Hoos, I feel like I’m taking part in something much bigger than myself.
Leah Carroll is a 3rd-year student in the College majoring in Politics and Religious Studies. As a senior intern at the Women's Center, she leads our Volunteer Corps, engaging students across UVA in our work through service.