Views From the Blues
The first thing a person who has attended St. Bonaventure may notice about the trip to the university of Rhode Island is an unexpected sense of familiarity. In terms of Rhode Island, which alas are very unique terms, URI is in the middle of nowhere, much like Bonaventure. In fact, I noticed quite a bit of irony in the signage by a “creative” Rams fan, welcoming Bonaventure to civilization, when in fact the campus is about as far from civilization as it can be in the state of Rhode Island. Which really isn’t that far, considering the state could fit in, the admittedly large, shoes of Bonaventure forward Josh Ayeni.
Honestly, the similarities end with the immediate drive towards the campus. The Ryan Center is a much larger building than the Reilly, and it is nt familiar to any of the five senses. It stinks of a lack of authenticity, and its overdone Rhode Island blue visuals seem corporate and overthought compared to The Reilly’s rustic hues of beige and brown.
I knew from an early moment that this trip was to be a strange one. The number of stairs that needed to be climbed to reach my seats was foreboding, considering the center is not that large and I was not that high up. Scaling the stairs seemed wholly unnecessary, and the entire arena just feels as if it has been pushed together to make room for something else. (Possibly a field for a wildly unsuccessful football program)
I arrived with nearly an hour to spare before the game started, and I had forgotten my ID, so a pre-game trip to get a beer was unsuccessful. A sign of poor results to come.
I sat in my seat as the arena began to slowly fill up, and it felt like most college basketball games, but again, the unnecessary size of the arena made it clear that some of the energy began to dissipate before the opening tip-off.
The highlight of the game was well before the start, when a woman a row ahead of me tripped up, and stumbled over three rows of seats, being saved from a certainly painful injury by the barrier dividing the upper sections from the lower.
One of my greatest fears in life is heights, and never has this fear manifested itself more than in arenas. Standing up in those narrow but steep rows has always brought upon an intense sense of nausea, and I think seeing someone actually fall a few rows may do little to curb those intense fears.
As the game started, any sense of familiarity with my own experiences watching college basketball in the Reilly Center totally vanished with one song. As the iconic opening strains of “Seven Nation Army” began to rumble through the PA system, I noticed something completely off. Completely distaff to the Reilly Center, the Rhode Island faithful clap along to the drum beat of the song, rather than the defiant “woahing” along to the riff of the Bonaventure student section. It felt wrong and alien to hear the song like this, as disturbing an experience as any scene David Lynch could muster up.
The game started, and my excitement at seeing my forth or fifth favorite athletic team compete faded rather fast. In a quick slate of corruption not seen since the last time a Rhode Island politician spoke, fouls piled up on the Bonaventure starting line up, and put them in a position they would struggle to fight out of the whole game. They struggled valiantly though, and at one point made a quick and sudden run at the lead, and of course, it was quickly clear where the few Bonaventure fans were in the crowd, as they immediately got all reilled up (that is a play on words).
It was not to be, as the referees ensured a victory for Rhode Island, sealing the game in a way that obviously makes it clear some sort of scandal is occurring, which should be no surprise to anyone knowing anything of Rhode Island state history. Dating all the way back to the time of Roger Williams, it is a plantations not to be trusted.
In the waning seconds of the game, I cheered for a clearly frustrated Josh Ayeni to make his displeasure vocal towards the coach of rhode Island, Dan Hurley, a man who wastes nearly as much taxpayer money in the state as noted grifter and scum of the earth Curt Schilling has in recent years. Calmer heads won out, and Bonaventure lost the game, but with odds stacked against them from the get go, they competed, and played a game to build upon. Bonaventure men’s basketball continues their quest towards another post-season tournament disappointment with a trip to the city of Andrew Carnegie to take on a school with a ridiculous name.