STORY BY ADAM ROGAN
There are currently over 250 student-athletes who represent Drake University. Together, these students make up the Drake Athletics community, and all of these Bulldogs, along with their coaches and the fans, provide support for one another in their endeavors, on or off the field.
“Drake is a small enough campus that normally with the attendance you can tell if there’s another team there and so that makes a big difference, brings in energy,” said John Hugunin, a fifth-year senior and team captain for Drake football. “It’s nice to have your fellow Bulldogs coming out and supporting you just as friends.”
In order to help foster that support and friendships between the teams, Drake Athletics has begun the practice of forming sister teams between sports. The Women’s Golf, Football and Softball teams are all sister teams with one another. However, the support other is not restricted to only their sister teams.
“It’s seriously the best,” Hayley Nybo, a Drake senior and softball infielder, said. “We really try and go to a lot of sporting events. We almost never miss a basketball game or a football game if they’re at home.”
Nybo mentioned the Bulldog win over Loyola University on April 4, in which over two dozen football players came out to Ron Buel Field to cheer on the Bulldogs.
“They’re loud and we hear them and we kind of feed off that energy,” Nybo said.
Not only does the football team support Softball, but the Women’s Golf team also gets out to support their classmates.
“We’ve been trying to go and support both of the teams for any of the games we can attend,” senior Danielle Brooks said. “We do our best to cheer and encourage them.”
In addition to the game attendance, the Women’s Golf team has also made brownies for both the Softball and Football teams, decorated the football locker room and wrote words of encouragement on the Softball team’s whiteboard.
The goal of sister teams is not only to bind teams together by bringing more fans or by making sweet treats, but also to better the community by volunteering together, although it can be difficult to plan this because of conflicting schedules.
“This spring we’re going to do a Habitat for Humanity build,” Brooks said.
Having a sister teams can also lead to the betterment of the players’ networking and friendship communities, getting together to do more than just cheering each other on.
“We played Wiffle ball with the golf and softball teams a couple times,” Hugunin said. “That was fun, just getting together and hanging out with them.”
Drake has worked towards a continual devotion to fostering communities and friendships between its students. Sister teams are just another way of doing that, and will stay in place for the future considering how much student-athletes have appreciated them.