General > General Division III issues

Why do you love D3 sports?

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NJRoyal137:
This thread my already exist, but in case it does not - I'm happy to start it. What do you all love about D3 sports? Additionally, what other sports do you watch at the pro and college level?

For me, D3 is the truest model of college sports, these student athletes are truly playing for the love of the game. Everyone is a scrappy underdog. I also have a lot of pride for my alma mater and got to watch some strong D3 hoops in my time at Scranton. I do sometimes wish I went to a larger D1 school so I could partake in the camaraderie associated with supporting a very recognizable program.

Growing up in NJ, it's Giants / Yankees for me - and occasionally the Knicks and Devils and Rutgers football. I'd watch Seton Hall occasionally, when they were good. 

Gregory Sager:
I suspect that a lot of us love D3 sports for the same reason that you do: The student-athletes play for the love of the game rather than in essence being paid to play via a scholarship; I have a huge amount of pride in my alma mater; and -- well, when you talk about getting to watch some strong D3 hoops in your time, keep in mind that I was a North Park student in the late '70s and early '80s and lived two blocks from campus as a recent alumnus in '85 and '87. ;) North Park still obviously plays a prominent role in my life; the twenty-plus years that I've been an active poster on this website are an outgrowth of my avid interest in NPU athletics, and I serve as "the Voice of the Vikings," the online play-by-play broadcaster for nine different Vikings sports.

I would add that, in addition to the qualities you mentioned, D3 is a natural extension of high school sports, which is still the purest form of sport in America. It has the same small-community feel to it, except that it's voluntary rather than involuntary as far as the students are concerned, and the self-selected nature of college often intensifies the experience, particularly for residential students. (Commuter students are more apt to spend a lot of off-hours working or spending time at home with family, which often prevents that sort of immersive intensity.)

I never wanted to go to a larger D1 school. My high school in upstate New York was over three times the size of North Park (which had an undergrad population of 1,200 when I was there; it's about 2,000 now, with another thousand grad students), and I'd felt totally alienated and anonymous because of the size of my high school. In college I was able to write for, and eventually serve as editor-in-chief of, the school newspaper; act in five plays and write two others; serve on student government; and get to know most of my peers. Like a lot of North Parkers, most of my closest friends throughout life have been people I met in college. As for the camaraderie of a larger school ... well, I grew up in a Syracuse suburb, so naturally the color orange was everywhere and SU basketball and football were a very big deal in my community. I could've been a part of that had I chosen to stay home and go to SU, but it held no appeal to me whatsoever (not that I have anything against the Orange). I have thus never really had much of an interest in D1 sports at all. Since I've lived in Chicago from college onward, I have plenty of pro sports to follow.

I'm a diehard Cubs fan, and I follow the Blackhawks and the Fire (although not closely). Being a Cubs fan gives me that part-of-a-vast-throng-of-like-minded-fans feeling that you mentioned in terms of D1 sports; the only experience I've ever had as a sports fan that comes close to the experience I had when North Park won national championships in basketball was on November 2, 2016, the night of The Greatest Baseball Game Ever Played. I used to be a big Bulls fan throughout the Jordan era, but I grew really disaffected by the NBA over the years and more or less stopped watching it. My one deviation to local loyalty is in football; although I follow the Bears, my heart remains with the Bills. (I was born in Buffalo, and my dad had seasons tickets to the Bills for decades, even after my family had moved to the Syracuse area.)

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