I am your average NJIT student. I don’t party, drink, or attend any athletic events on campus. I’m like a basement dweller stuck in front of a computer screen trying to finish a bunch of endless projects and assignments. While my lifestyle is as stereotypical as they come, I’m not so much of a stick in the mud that I don’t know about the recent popularity our Men’s Basketball team following their victorious Michigan game.
Yes, the Highlanders are even on wins and losses this season; the leads in their winning games average 2-6 points. Yes, the Highlanders were crushed by Villanova a few weeks back. Still, in spite of their struggles, they continue to be recognized as the “Giant Killers”.
In a YouTube video found on NJIT’s channel, it was found that NJIT trended higher than Santa Claus the week before Christmas on Twitter because of Michigan. Our bookstore had difficulty dealing with the surge of orders from people all over the country wanting NJIT shirts, hoodies, and pants.
In a lot of ways, because of that win, it felt like NJIT was finally being recognized for doing something awesome.
For weeks, publications like the Huffington Post and ESPN applauded NJIT for doing something thought to be impossible. Before December 6th, the Highlanders were considered as nothing but cannon fodder with a history of losses dating from back to when we became a Division I school. Now, the Highlanders were even able to take out another “Giant Killer”, and that team just happened to be Yale.
For the 3 years that I have been at NJIT and the two previous basketball seasons I had the opportunity to witness, I never dared to watch any sporting events, even if my friends from high school and middle school were major participants. Now, I’m feeling that I might have a change of heart.
The thing is, Men’s Basketball isn’t the only sport the Highlanders are good at. From Men’s Rugby to Women’s tennis, the Highlanders have all sorts of talented athletes. While NJIT isn’t a part of a conference, people have started to believe in us. While articles being written by Huffington Post or the New York Times aren’t about our other amazing athletes, I think the rest of the NJIT community has started to feel something that people don’t commonly associate with your school: pride.
Since Michigan, a whirlwind of pride has swept through the school. Even as someone as introverted and more concerned about his portfolio as the next guy, I couldn’t help but feel hyped when I started talking about my school and things I never used to care about. Things like men’s basketball.
I want to end this off by saying thank you to the NJIT athletic department. As late as this is, from a junior who cares a bit more about how a video game should be designed than about the sports teams that represent his school, thank you. When you guys and gals win, it really feels like we all win.