Written by Andrea Santi (BES '12)
I can still remember my very first interaction with the Waterloo Warrior mascot. And I don't mean King Warrior, the lion. Students and Alumni from the '80's and '90's (and possibly earlier back!) likely remember the gold-painted man decked out in actual "armor" striding the sidelines during basketball games at the PAC. Imagine how scary this sight may look to a child... As a Kitchener local, I frequented Waterloo Warrior basketball games with my family from a young age. It was during a men's basketball game when I asked my dad who this "scary guy" was. My dad said, "Well, Andrea, that's the Waterloo Warrior," and I replied with, "What's he so worried about?!?"
(I have since learned the difference between the two words, and King Warrior and I are now BFFs).
The years that followed and when it came time to choose which university I would attend, the University of Waterloo was at the top of my list. Being in the local basketball community, my parents continued to bring my brother, Luke, and sister, Janelle, and I to games at the PAC. We even attended (and coached) youth basketball camps held there over the years. One memorable annual event was the Fantastic Alumni, Faculty, Staff, and Retiree Day (specifically all the paper airplanes on the court at halftime of the men’s game!)
The years passed and when it came time to choose a post-secondary institution, Waterloo was at the top of my list. As a student, I got involved with Athletics in other ways in addition to attending games. Playing intramurals was a great way to stay active, and I enjoyed the challenge of taking on leadership roles with referees. Later as a staff member, I participated in the annual Think Pink campaign to raise money for cancer in memory of my brother.
Little did I know how my career would turn out – and I couldn’t be happier. I’m an alumnus from Waterloo, and also currently a staff member in undergraduate recruitment, proud to be promoting a school that I love! I continue to attend games (thanks to the Alumni Big Ticket program!) but now it’s me inviting my parents and sister to come with me, rather than the other way around. Any games with special events, such as Fantastic Alumni, Faculty, Staff and Retiree Day, are especially great games to go to. The gym is filled with energy, current students, and families from the community, all contributing to the vibe. My favourite memory from these games is all the fans on our feet, standing and clapping until the Warriors score their first basket.
Fantastic Alumni, Faculty, Staff, Retiree Day is an event that I now look forward to annually. I’m fortunate to have close family members with the mutual love of basketball – and UWaterloo – that I can share that with.
Looking forward to seeing my fellow colleagues and alumni at the game!
WATER WATER WATER! LOO LOO LOO!