Hawk's Eye View: The Best Sports Has to Offer

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

During my 13 years working in collegiate athletics, and four spent as a student-athlete myself, people would often ask what the best parts were. The real answer did not involve stadiums visited, trips taken or victories collected.
In truth, the best parts weren’t items on that belonged on a list of places and things, but the lines on another list. A list much closer to my heart – the people.
Winning is often the ultimate measure of excitement and losing can hurt a lot, but both emotions come and go.
The people remain.
That is the secret ingredient in sports. 
I have spent the majority of my life seeing how sports can bring pure joy to a vast array of people and land them on common ground. The relationships formed are always the things I look back on most fondly. 
But don’t take just my word for it.
Look at Brendan Dearie ’06, a Clocktower Society and UNCW Society member. When he’s not serving as the pharmacy manager at Mt. Olive Pharmacy, he’s watching the Seahawks. Dearie now has his whole family rooting for UNCW. He took his wife to her first CAA Championship in 2008.
“Our favorite thing about rooting for the Seahawks is all the memories,” Dearie said. “We can mark time with pictures at games of the different stages of how our family has grown.”
Dearie started making CAA Championship trips with his former UNCW roommate, Darren Prevatte. The pair went to the 2006 event in Richmond, VA, and then traveled to the NCAA Tournament game in Greensboro, NC.
Now, Dearie’s favorite CAA Championship trips are those he has taken with his family.
“The 2017 and 2018 CAA Championships were our favorite,” Dearie said. “Darren had moved to Charleston (SC), so we were able to get our families together to go. It was the first CAA Championship trip for our oldest, Quinn, and his oldest, Brayden, when we won in Charleston in 2017. In 2018, we took our son Landon to his first. At the Seahawk Club event before the game, everyone sang him happy birthday!”
His daughter cried this year when she learned she had a dance commitment and couldn’t be in Washington, D.C., cheering at the Entertainment and Sports Arena.
Will the Seahawk memories keep going? Absolutely.
“We now have a two-year old and a two-month old and we can’t wait to take them,” Dearie added. “Our kids love going to UNCW baseball in the spring and watching games from the hill in the outfield. They have gone to soccer, swim and baseball camps, where they get to interact with players and coaches and utilize the amazing facilities that are in Wilmington.”
The connections and memory making in sports aren’t limited to alumni and families.
Take current students Eliza Lewis ’23, Olivia Ploughe ’24, Mason McVeety ’23 and Ansleigh Craven ’23, who traveled to Washington, D.C., via Amtrak to watch this week’s CAA Championship.
“I work for the Seahawk Club and Team Teal so I’ve been at all the home games,” Lewis said. “My friends started coming with me. We decided this would be a super fun trip to take over spring break.”
When asked about their favorite memories in Trask Coliseum, none of the four mentioned a dunk, a shot made or any on-court moment. It was about the people surrounding them.
“We have a really great student section and it’s a fun time to be together.”
“You can see how the team really feeds off the student section’s energy. We can all come together to support the Seahawks.”
“It’s really fun to be a part of the community.”
Memories made, games won, people brought together. This is the best sports has to offer.
And perhaps tonight, those memories will include the seventh CAA Championship trophy in program history.

-- Sarah Fetters, Director of Communications, UNCW Division for University Advancement

UNCW students

Eliza Lewis ’23, Olivia Ploughe ’24, Mason McVeety ’23 and Ansleigh Craven ’23

Sammy and fan

Quinn Dearie and Sammy C. Hawk