JOURNAL: More than Team Colors

JOURNAL%3A+More+than+Team+Colors

Photo by Alex DeBuhr

Blue and gold lights flash around Fiserv Forum and the Al McGuire Center seconds before men’s and women’s basketball games tip-off. As coaches give final instructions to their players, the Marquette pep band blasts the tune of a song that brings out the best in Marquette: “Ring out Ahoya.”

Marquette sports inspire people to travel to Milwaukee every year to watch their teams battle in the Big East. 

One fan, Monica Dombrowski, Class of ‘91, travels from her house in West Allis almost every year for National Marquette Day.

She has been a college basketball fan since she was in high school, something she has in common with her parents.

To Dombrowski, Marquette basketball is a family love. 

“I really liked college basketball ever since I was in high school. And both my parents are huge college basketball fans,” Dombrowski says. “When I got into Marquette, they were very, very excited. I just feel like I’m carrying on that legacy.”

She started going to basketball games with her roommate at the time and has continued that tradition. 

“As a Marquette student, we went to games together when I wasn’t working,” Dombrowski says. “We also went to games after college as time allowed. We went to the 2003 Final Four in New Orleans and have since gone to so many games.”

Dombrowski says her favorite part of the basketball season are the National Marquette Day festivities. 

“It’s a way of bringing the Marquette community together. It’s a way to really enjoy each other’s company,” Dombrowski says. “I just think that’s really important to do as part of your college experience.”

Dombrowski says being a fan is more than going to games, but actively supporting players and teams around campus. 

“When you see the players around campus, say, ‘Hey, good game last night,’” Dombrowski says. “It’s a way of connecting as a community.”

Dombrowski’s first Marquette men’s basketball game was during her junior year and has since fallen in love. 

She says she doesn’t see herself missing a game anytime soon, even if she leaves Milwaukee, but doesn’t see that happening as of now.

“I married somebody who is local to the area. I have family who’s in the area,” Dombrowski says. “I have children who I hope to go to Marquette, at least one child that I hope to go to Marquette one day.” 

Brandon Nakamura, a first-year student in the College of Arts & Sciences, is new to Marquette. And unlike Dombrowski, he has not been a Marquette fan for long, but is looking forward to attending more athletic events.  

Nakamura has been to volleyball games this season. He went to the first home game against Loyola University-Chicago. 

“As soon as I walked through those doors, and saw the whole arena, I was like, ‘Wow, this place is a real deal over here,’” Nakamura says. “I think I saw Iggy walking around a couple of places. So it was a good scene. I liked it.”

Nakamura’s favorite part of the volleyball experience was the music played in between points by the pep band.

“Every time Marquette got a point, they (pep band) played,” Nakamura says. “They kept playing this victory chant, and that was really great.”

In the future, Nakamura is looking forward to seeing Marquette basketball at Fiserv Forum.

“Since Marquette is really big on basketball, you got to say that you at least went there (basketball games) once,” Nakamura says. “Especially in the whole city of Milwaukee. Because that’s in the heartland of the city. If you see a banner of your school in the middle of the city, that would be worthwhile to go pose or take a picture.”

Another Marquette fan, Joshua Coe, a first-year student in the College of Health Sciences, has been a Marquette fan since he was in the seventh grade. It was then, Coe says, he experienced his first Marquette basketball game.

“I went with my grandpa and one of my uncles,” Coe says. “My grandpa went to Marquette and my uncle went to the Dental School.” 

Along with his grandpa and uncle, Coe’s sister and mother also went to Marquette. 

He remembers walking into the Bradley Center and seeing the sea of gold and blue in the stands. 

“I’m going to be real, the hype was insane. You could even see it while people were waiting for Dippin’ Dots,” Coe says. “It’s a lot of school spirit. People are always cheering, people have their faces painted, their hair is dyed. It went crazy.” 

Coe says his favorite part of Marquette is men’s basketball. 

“Honestly, I’m not a fan of basketball, I just like the hype,” Coe says. “People are cheering, shouting, the mascot has a T-shirt cannon. It’s a great time.”

Coe says what will motivate him to walk the 0.7 miles down to Fiserv Forum in the cold during January is the culture amongst fans. 

“A lot of the first-year (students) haven’t seen it yet, but the entire campus is cheering,” Coe says. “Everybody’s hype, everybody’s cheering, people got the school colors on.”

This story was written by Jack Albright. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JackAlbrightMU.