By Anthony Noll
On September 3, 2016, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to watch the UWF Argonauts beat the Ave Maria Gyrenes by a score of 45-0. The win was not in soccer, not in baseball, but in football.
Many people associated with UWF have waited most of their lives to hear that be said, and now that hope is becoming real.
After experiencing one day’s worth of events at the game against Ave Maria, I have ten reasons why UWF football is one of the greatest things to happen to our school and the Pensacola community.
- After their first victory, there is hype for this season. Some people doubted that our team would be able to beat Ave Maria, but our play silenced any doubters. With the other teams in our conference, the odds of us having a perfect season are still very minimal. However, the team can indeed say (at least for now) that they are, “Still Undefeated.”
- There is a clear fan base for football. We have FSU to our east, the Iron Bowl rivalry and Georgia to our north, and South Alabama to our west. There was a void in college football, and the center of it just happened to be in Pensacola, Florida.
- The culture of the area supports it: Southerners love some good football. Over the last few weeks, and even months, our city is buzzing with the arrival of a Pensacola-based football team. The Blue Wahoos Stadium should be well over capacity on September 10 at 6 p.m.
- It was just a dream for the alumni, now it is a reality. For years, they pondered what it would be like to gather at a stadium on a Saturday afternoon and watch some good football in Pensacola. Although this was not 100 percent according to their vision, every UWF alumni member sported their blue and green prouder than ever at the Ave Maria game.
- President Bense’s “beliefs” were really a strategic plan. The point of a strategic plan is to meet goals set for three to five years before they happen. This plan could not have been more perfect for UWF.
- It forces UWF to grow. The school is now on the map for prospective students and athletes across America. With this new, influential power, the school must grow all aspects of the campus to accommodate for the increasing student population per year.
- The benefits outweigh the costs. Many criticize the price of the program’s introduction to our university, but the positive effects are on the horizon. Some of them are here, and others are still yet to come.
- The economic impact will be amazing. The shops in Downtown will be crowded, the tailgaters will pack the lawns of the Blue Wahoos stadium, and all of it to watch men tackle each other and take a brown ball from one end of the field to another. Right now, Pensacola businesses, UWF football fans and players, and the entire city of Pensacola wins in the economic battle. Each entity builds off of one another, and a higher stream of revenue is circulated among all of these benefactors.
- Everything at the University of West Florida is peaking. The students are excited, the alumni are excited, and everyone that has a connection to the school is ecstatic. As we cross 13,000 students for the first time in history, the positive academic, economic, and social growth of UWF is palpable. We must continue to push our limits as a collective group, and we will see even more positive benefits for the immediate and distant future.
- History. There was magic in the air in Ave Maria that day. No matter the final score, everyone was taking place in an event that will go down in UWF history. When it came to the game itself, that is where the aura took form. Every quarter was history. Every play was history. Every second was history. To be a part of that momentous day was truly a blessing, and the excitement of that day could be felt from half a Gulf away.
I sit back here in Pensacola with the photos on my camera and the images in my head from that day. There will only be one first game for the University of West Florida Argonauts, and it was an honor to be with all of the alumni and administrators to watch this dream come true.