The wait is over – they’re back! The hype of football season has been building slowly for well over a year and the games have finally begun. Two games into their season and George Fox is still bustling with talk and support for our new football program. Football might be the most prevalent topic of conversation on campus right now. Not only is it exciting for us to welcome hundreds of football athletes to join the George Fox community, but they are bringing so much to the campus as well.
The largest impact they have had is in building community engagement. It was awesome going to the football games and seeing members of Friendsview Retirement Community walking across the street to come be a part of the unveiling. Recruits from different states drove out to experience the first game and see if they would want to be a part of the program. Partnering restaurants brought food carts to set up a tailgating area and thousands of fans poured into the stadium to fill our bleachers with cheers of encouragement.
Our football players fought hard, and although we didn’t come away with a win on the scoreboard, it was a momentous achievement in the launch of a new era of George Fox athletics. The student section belted out a few practiced cheers all throughout the game, never losing enthusiasm. As fans young and old surrounded the field and the stadium lights created a bubble around the field, it felt like each and every person was a part of the moment. We shared in the successes of Brad Lander on the first Saturday receiving six passes for 119 yards and John Shaffer running for 253 yards the next weekend. The crowd went wild for the various interceptions and major hits. Being a Division III university, what a cool experience that our student-athletes are students first. This means that although we get to watch the boys put on a show under the lights on Saturday, the next Monday we see them on the quad going to class and saying hi to friends like every other student.
It is clear that this beautiful stadium and hard-working new athletic team are influencing the George Fox community for the better. We can’t wait for the next game.