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Sports Are Entertainment at Merrimack

Cole Cameron and Nina Bramante

Sports at Merrimack College is known to draw a crowd. Merrimack College moved up to a Division 1 school from a Division 2 school after accepting an invitation from the Northeast Conference in 2019 drawing nationwide attention.

Nick Penkala, Assistant Director of Athletic Communications at Merrimack, was quick to comment on Merrimack College becoming D1 and how it changed the sports as entertainment dynamic here on campus.

“I like to think that sports is the primary source of entertainment at Merrimack. I don’t know if that is because I work in athletics and I don’t really pay attention to the rest of campus most of the time, but if I was a college student I would go to a bunch of games, especially since we have switched to Division I the quality of play is great,” Penkala added.

There are a lot of entertainment options on campus, however, sports remain among the preferred entertainment for students. Football, Men’s hockey, and men’s basketball, Merrimack’s most popular sports, continue to bring the students from their dorms to the stands.

The athletic department gets the word out to students about big upcoming games mainly through social media. Social media has proven to attract the most students to attend the games.

Here’s what Penkala had to say about social media use in the department and events.

“We promote entertainment by using social media to let people know that we are having a big game. For example, we had a massive role out for homecoming and Lawler basketball games

this season and last season, between videos on Instagram and Twitter or emails that go out to the community letting them know what is going to be happening. Our hope when we put content out the Merrimack community will interact and engage with it to boost our social media following.”

Jacob Mercer, a Freshman on the club rugby team and avid Merrimack sports fan, said that he attends every home football game and when the season starts, hockey and basketball as well.

“I view sports as an opportunity to support the school.” Said Jacob Mercer, “But the environment is the most fun part of the event.”

That seems to be a common feeling on campus. Campus Athletics seems to have a big part in creating that feeling.

“One of the coolest parts of my job is when there is a big event on campus in athletics people are talking about it all week and there is a buzz on campus on the day of the game. It is cool because it is our event and the rest of the community is excited. Building a community at a school like Merrimack is a massive part of the college experience and sports plays a big part in developing it.”

Campus Athletics knows how to work such crowds. When attending a game you can usually expect a halftime show with performances from Merrimack Colleges Dance Team who recently placed third at NDA in Daytona Beach Florida, our cheerleading team and a band performances. Concession stands with food and drinks are always open. A cheerful and attentive crowd is always a given.

These past few years Merrimack College is fond of improvement with changes happening all over campus to better the Merrimack Community. Some members of the community feel that engagement at sporting events is still lacking.

“I think that campus athletics can try to have more silly crowd engagement such as the wave. This is because I have seen a lot of sports events where people get mad at the other team and start throwing slurs at the other team. So if the campus athletics could help with that, that would be a good improvement,” said Mercer.

Pekala says that he has been taking those steps and working towards making sporting events enjoyable for all especially as the community continues to grow.

“I would like to see Merrimack take steps to enhance that game day environment for bigger games. Since I’ve been here I think we are taking big steps such as playing basketball in Lawler. Going forward I think just getting bigger and better facilities as we grow as a community is what I would like to see in the future the most.”

Sports will always remain a huge part of campus life at Merrimack College. Everyone in the community is excited to see how sports and sports entertainment will grow in the

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