These past few weeks have been busy for Tech sports, and to an extent, this section reflects that. The eminent (Emmert-nent?) figure in collegiate athletics paid a visit to campus, Josh Pastner got the recognition he deserves for taking an uninspired basketball program and, well, offering inspiration, and Atlanta United sold out its first game at Bobby Dodd.
But as much as we can cover these stories, there will always be a few that slip between the cracks. So let us take a look at some of the narratives you might have missed in lieu of these headline-grabbing (and quite rightfully so) moments in just the past week, one observation at a time. Let us start with my experience attending the first ever match of a brand new professional sports franchise.
Section 216, Row 40
Elsewhere in this section (namely, right above), Nishant Reddy describes Atlanta United’s opening match from the perspective of a professional covering the game. And with good reason: he attended as credentialed media and stood by the goal.
Opting for what I decided was the ‘authentic’ fan experience, a friend and I booked tickets in the Student Alumni Association’s discounted block. The process could not have been smoother, but thanks to our lateness in deciding to attend, we were saddled with seats in row 40 of section 216.
“How far could that be?” I reasoned. When my watch told me I had reached my daily fitness goal after I surmounted the final flight of stairs, I understood just how far from the action those seats were. I was in the topmost row of the north end zone. My biggest gripe: leaving my seat for concessions (a venture, by the way, that lasted me from the 45th to the 75th minute) was a chore.
Nevertheless, the energy was unlike anything I have ever experienced at Bobby Dodd, and the closest I have seen to the unadulterated excitement of the Green Bay Packers’ Lambeau Field. Keep that up, and United will be in fantastic shape moving forward.
Wednesday marked Todd Stansbury’s 100th day as Tech’s athletic director, and while the Athletic Association certainly noticed, it is unlikely that most fans will. After all, save for a scandal, athletic directors fly under the radar. No news is good news, so the saying goes. Indeed, few Tech students could put a face to his name.
Yet there is a lot to like about Stansbury’s vision, and NCAA President Mark Emmert said the same in his visit last week. His plan includes highlighting the innovations made by Tech in the field of athletics (after all, there is significant research being done in developing the playing surfaces and helmets of the future). That is likely the best step forward in a nation becoming more acutely aware of the risks that come with being an athlete.
Tech Goes International
Understanding the women’s basketball team roster might require a course in geography. Or two. Senior forward Katarina Vuckovic hails from Smederevo, Serbia, junior center Simina Avram calls Brasov, Romania home and the team boasts additions from Nigeria (Elo Edeferioka) and Senegal (Anne Francoise Diouf). Francesca Pan and Antonia Peresson, Italians, seem almost domestic by comparison. In a political climate that is marked with such tension, it is nice to know that a group of young women from all the world can play on a team together and put up a good fight, even if that team’s ACC Tournament ended with a disheartening loss to Miami.
Gold-Out Done Right
Tech’s 2017 football gold-out will be against FCS opponent Jacksonville State. Jacksonville State’s primary color is … not gold. Thank you, GTAA, for (presumably) hearing my plea for mercy and responding accordingly.