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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

My Maine fascination with Bowdoin

Published: March 10, 2006
Section: Sports

BRUNSWICK,ME- Admit it. We've all made our fair share of jokes about Maine. The state best known for lobster and lighthouses is dismissed by many as Americas northern wasteland. How many times have we heard uhh whats in Maine? However, the state that has brought us Liv Tyler, George (not W.) Bush and Stephen King also has a little pride for their local collegiate teams.

Professional sports are virtually non-existent. The closest team they have to the pro level is Boston's AA team, the Portland Sea Dogs.

Then there are the Bowdoin Polar Bears. The same Bowdoin Polar Bears that have won 70 games at their cozy Morrell Gymnasium. No other team in New England can boast of such a feat. Of course by now even (most) Brandeis students know that win number 70 came against the Judges last Saturday night. Theres many ways to analyze this game (rebounding disparity, foul trouble) but admit it, Bowdoin had the crowd as their sixth man, and Brandeis didnt.

Deafening is an understatement in describing the audio level of the 2,000 seat capacity stadium set in the heart of southern Maine.

“I think it was really more of a factor in the beginning, because were just not used to that kind of environment. Weve seen it a little bit at NYU, Christine Clancy noted.
But never with the crowd behind them. Allegiance to Bowdoin goes even further. Go to any small candy shop, bookstore in Brunswick or the neighboring, coastal communities and people can talk a good game of Division III womens basketball. The local newspapers are dominated by text and pictures of Bowdoin athletes. Nice diversion from Manny Ramirez, no?

It would be unfair for one to compare Bowdoins athletic department support to that of Brandeis. There are far too many diversions in the greater Boston area for the locals to get consumed in any athletic program, Division I, II or III. (That doesnt excuse the fact that Gosman Arena struggles to get past double digit attendance on some nights).

But it's got this small town community feeling attached to it, that is, well, kind of refreshing.

Lets not forget the hospitality of the folks from Brunswick, Maine. Sure we had to park in forested areas that seemed right out of The Blair Witch Project, but it wasnt all that bad. Hospitality and friendliness was the status quo. The Bowdoin athletic department provided copious amounts of food and assistance to families and the media. Please do not be mistaken. Maine natives still root for Beantown teams. But they also cherish athletes who arent paid and have reached the culmination of their athletic careers.

Just goes to show you one can be a professional sports fans, as well as a Division III one.