Carleton Ravens almost miss their own victory party
Published Monday, March 13, 2017 6:22PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 13, 2017 7:19PM EDT
Winning championships? No problem.
Celebrating? That’s another matter.
The day after winning an unprecedented 13th national title, the Carleton University Ravens men’s basketball team almost missed their own homecoming party.
Organizers hastily put a celebration together to surprise the team at their home court. The team members, however, got off the plane and were told they could go straight home. “The problem with surprises is they didn’t know that,” laughs Carleton University President Roseann Runte. “So they went somewhere else.”
A few frantic phone calls later, and several of the players who live nearby diverted to the celebration.
It wasn't exactly a huge affair. They were met by some cheerleaders, a group of young kids recruited from a local Spring Break day camp, some members of the media, and a handful of hardcore fans.
It was an inauspicious homecoming for a team that has become one of Canada’s most dominant sports dynasties. “No, they don’t really get the recognition they deserve,” said longtime fan Diane Van Duyse.
Granted it was all very last-minute, and this is a busy time of year for students and, let’s face it, not everyone is a basketball fan.
But what the Ravens have accomplished is unprecedented. They have won the national title in 13 of the past 15 years, including a current 7 consecutive years.
So why can’t they draw a bigger crowd the day after the big win?
Perhaps it’s a case of being too successful. “Because everyone kind of expects they’re going to win,” said one student who kept studying as the players paraded by.
Perhaps it’s the notion that Canadian University Athletics simply don’t have the same prestige. “I think maybe if we were in the States they’d see it celebrated a little bit more,” muses Van Duyse.
For some of the players, they are more than happy with the amount of support they receive. “In terms of university athletics I think this is one of the top,” says Joe Rocca. “We get incredible support by the community and people are coming to our games.”
Fifth year Ravens player, Connor Wood, says celebrating isn’t as important for the team as winning. “I think that we just don’t make it that big of a deal. I think that winning is obviously a big deal and that’s what we really want to do but I don’t think we need a huge accolade,” he says.
Perhaps the size of the party doesn’t matter, as long as it’s a victory party.