It felt like the event started before stepping inside the arena. Loud game music blared from the steps leading into the Arlin R. Horton Sports Center, where sports fans gathered an hour before the show was scheduled to start. In the past, Eagle Mania and Midnight Madness have been met with the same energy and excitement. This year, fans enjoyed Eagles Fan Fest!
Through the reimagined event, Eagles Fan Fest introduced fans to all four Eagles teams. To promote friendly competition, fans were encouraged to wear team colors and choose between two sides of the arena—blue versus white. Armed with color-coordinated thundersticks, Eagles gear, and excitement, fans were quick to make their presence known as the teams prepared for their big entrance.
Going into his eleventh year as coach, Jared Sellars always enjoys introducing the women’s basketball team to fans. “For us, [Eagles Fan Fest] is all about the experience for our players and their friends and family,” he said. “I love to see them excited and having a good time. Knowing all the hard work they put in to be successful, it really is awesome to see them excited to run out in front of that huge crowd. I also love to see all the pictures afterwards. Seeing the great support and friendships is incredible.”
Similar events encourage students to become familiar with the players and promote attendance at home games. “The exciting thing about these events is that you get to know people,” said Montse Torres Colín (Fr., Mexico), a Lady Eagles basketball player. “It is an excellent opportunity to get to know the team, get involved with sports, and also have a good time around your friends.”
Eagles Fan Fest opened with a high-energy floor show, where the teams were quickly introduced through the projected show on the court. Each group soon made their own entrances together. In between each Eagles introduction, fans were invited down on the court to participate in a variety of themed skills challenges. Each challenge gave the blue and white teams a chance to further their score.
This event was Coach Jason Bell’s first opportunity to formally introduce his team to the Eagles fans. With the basketball playing season starting soon, he’s looking forward to their first games together. “We’re thankful for and humbled by the huge amount of support that we’ve received on campus,” he said. “We’re very excited to get on the floor and work hard to be the type of Eagles team that everyone on campus will be proud of.”
“Coach Bell has been out to redefine Christian athletics, reminding us always that basketball is bigger than just a game,” said Stephen Wheeler (Graduate Assistant), a player on the Eagles basketball team. “We understand that character is built on the court, and the way we approach the game says a lot about us. Ultimately, Coach Bell wants us to be able to use our talents to glorify God. I’d say that his high expectations for this team have been challenging but also motivating to each of us.”
With only a few weeks left for soccer and volleyball seasons, those players are glad to have had a great season. Eagles soccer player Ked Augustin (Sr., Haiti) is thankful for the support and experiences he’s shared with his teammates. “What I enjoyed the most about getting to know the team is the level of connection we’ve acquired over the past few weeks. The new guys are awesome!” he said. “Coach Joe [Liwosz] promotes self-confidence and values each and every one of us as an important member of the team, and that plays a huge part in encouraging us as team. Knowing that what we say matters pushes us to invest more in the team.”
“I truly feel welcomed into the family,” said Grace Loo (Fr., TX), a new Lady Eagles volleyball player. “We all come from very different places, degrees, and ages, but on the volleyball court, our differences dissipate, and we unite over our common passion: volleyball! Being an Eagle is such a unique experience. I strongly encourage anyone who loves sports to either try out for next season or just come and support Eagles games. Support is so appreciated, and we love getting to represent PCC!”
Many fans attended Eagles Fan Fest with groups of friends. Together, they enjoyed the loud, spirited event that celebrated the Eagles teams. “It’s a good way to build excitement for the games and get people interested in coming and supporting the team,” said Zoe Brown (Fr., MD).
“I love seeing my friends play,” said Jordan Griffin (Sr., NV), who’s taking time to experience more of campus life during his final semester. “When I see the guys I talk to outside of classes and playing the game, that is so amazing to me. I love to see them in their element. That’s my favorite part. People love to be a part of something together, and these events help with that.”
The event concluded with an irregular but crowd-pleasing duel of fates. Armed with a lightsaber, the mascot Eagor met his match when faced against a surprising opponent—Darth Vader. Fans cheered as, not a moment too late, Ian Morris (So., IL) entered the arena to defend the eagle. To thank fans for coming out, Eagor dropped 400 balloons with tickets for free on-campus treats from The Palms, Chick-fil-A, and Common Grounds.
Now, with each team celebrated, fans are looking forward to attending their next Eagles game! Let’s go, Eagles! Let’s go!