It was an excitement-filled morning as family members, students and friends gathered to create colorful posters at the L.P. Young Student Center.
Tables with shirts, poster materials, sunglasses, glitter and friendly faces lined the grass, the sun making it a warm and sunny fall day.
Last Saturday, Oct. 21, the Owl nation honored their female athletes in women’s soccer and women’s volleyball, holding a Hootie’s Superfan Hangout which allowed Keene State College students and family members to create posters to cheer on their senior players.
This event also had backyard games that families could participate in, as well as caricature drawings and face painting.
First-year Sabrina Oakes attended the Hooties Superfan Hangout and made a colorful poster for the women’s soccer team.
Oakes said, “It’s a really cool way to support our teams locally. We get to use glitter, and markers, and really anything to make a sign and it’s cool to just do something together, but at the same time for others.”
“It’s also parent weekend so the families can really get involved with the students. All the families are talking and the little kids are having fun and it really just shows what a great environment Keene is. I think this hangout is definitely centered around honoring the athletes, but it accomplishes a sense of community and unity.”
Although the Hootie’s Hangout served as great event to rally the community together, the meaning of Saturday’s event resonated deep in the athletes who would be stepping on their field and court for their last home game as an Owl.
Rachel Lamica, a senior and women’s volleyball player, said she is taking it day by day and cherishing the moments as they come.
“It’s nice to know what’s coming. It for sure is bittersweet. I hate to leave because this is the last sport that I’m going to be able to play. It’s super weird though. Ever year I’m always like this is super sad and now it’s me, so I’m like wow. It went by so fast.”
The women’s volleyball team has a total of two seniors who have been playing all four years as Owls.
The bittersweet reality of the situation was very much real for the women’s soccer team as well, as the 11 seniors looked back on their journey throughout their four years of being an Owl.
Senior Morgan Kathan said she loves her team and that it’s going to be a challenge to part once the season is over, but that she is ready for what the future has to offer her.
“It’s really weird, it definitely feels super short. I’m ready to get going and get out of college but it’s been quick, a little too quick unfortunately, but it’s very exciting,” said Kathan.
“This season went by in the shortest amount of time, it doesn’t feel like it’s been two months. So knowing this is the last time that we’re going to play at home with all of the fans and everyone all together, it’s pretty scary. But it’s definitely really exciting.”
Fellow teammates senior Marianna Porcello, Gretchen Greene and Taylor Farland shared the same thoughts about their season winding down, as well as how it felt to finally be facing their senior game.
Porcello thought about her experiences in the women’s soccer team and is finally coming to terms with the season coming to an end.
“It’s crazy. It’s overwhelming and it’s relieving at the same time. It’s scary to think that Saturday is our last regular season game on our home field, I’ve already been emotional about it. But it’s really cool to see how far we’ve come and how far we’ve progressed. People always ask me what’s coming next and I try not to think about that because I just want to cherish what’s happening right now.”
Greene shared similar thoughts and said, “It’s bittersweet, it’s scary. Honestly it flew by. Everyone always tells you that senior year goes by the quickest and you don’t really think about it until the end. It doesn’t really feel like it’s almost over, it’s weird.”
Farland said that it felt surreal to finally be at this point of the season. “It’s scary. It hits you really out of nowhere, you don’t expect it to come as quickly as everybody says it will, your four years really do fly by. It’s weird to think about going into the real world, but it’s cool to be in this position,” said Farland.
Farland added, “It’s upsetting, there’s going to be a lot of tears for sure. There are 11 of us so it’s going to be interesting.”
Not only did the Hootie’s Superfan Hangout bring together the community, but it was also able to show the athletes that they have so much support and so much to look forward to as they take their next steps in life.
Although coming to the end of a sports career can be bittersweet and sad, that feeling is slightly dulled after knowing those four years were spent being an Owl.
Caroline Perry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org