Talk of New Arena Spurs Thoughts

The crowd rises to their feet as the noise level reaches an almost unbearable, yet enjoyable level. Young children jump up and down screaming, as alumni anxiously clap their hands together. Parents, students and faculty repeatedly cheer and yell out, yet despite their best efforts to slow down the clock, game time rapidly winds down.

The opponents call for a time out, as they use up their last attempt to salvage the win. The scoreboard seems to be blazing neon red numbers back to the antsy crowd. It is not a mirage or nail biting movie scene. The DePaul Blue Demons are in fact down by two points with four-seconds remaining in the second half.

The athletes retake the court. It is as if though time were spun into a whirlwind of events, the Blue Demons are able to sink the game winning three point shot at the buzzer. As the crowd literally goes wild, the players embrace each other in hugs, and high fives.

Perhaps this contagious atmosphere surfaced due to the teams' excitement and furthered increased thanks to the fans play-by-play interaction and immaculate attention to detail. Hmm, or could it be the location of where these dazzling plays and game winning moments occurred?

While it is valid to proclaim that winning is an accomplishment to be proud of, winning for your school is even better. Yet, winning in a city as special and unique as Chicago is an even bigger achievement, given the sports history that has taken place over the years in the Windy City, particularly basketball. If you don't realize that I am referring to the one and only number 23, then maybe a trip down Chicago sports memory lane will do you some good.

Winning in Chicago is significant, and that is why DePaul is looking into and making moves to pursue a basketball arena located in Chicago. This potential move would provide the Men's Basketball team with the chance to succeed on various levels, including featuring Chicago pride through a Big East Conference competitive outlet.

This vision is in the premature stages of becoming a reality.

At the annual DePaul Tip-Off Luncheon held on October 23 the possibility of a new arena to house the Blue Demons was a hot topic.

Jean Lenti Ponsetto, Athletic Director at DePaul, was immediately bombarded with the possibility of a new location.

"Everything is a possibility, but we are very much in the early stages," Ponsetto began to explain. "DePaul has laid down roots in many parts of Chicago to help anchor things."

DePaul being such an active part of the Chicagoland community has truly aided numerous endeavors the school has pursued, because of the bonds formed between countless mediums.

Ponsetto continued, "Chicago is DePaul's campus, and its history of laying down roots in many different places is going to benefit this process," she said. "We are also excited about the prospects and the potential."

Many changes and perspective plans are being put into action. Yet Ponsetto wanted to make it very clear that it is not to say that the Allstate Arena hasn't been an excellent home court for the Blue Demons over the years.

"I can't say enough about the Allstate Arena and how great they have been. Everyone has been fantastic," Ponsetto stated.

The attention placed upon obtaining a new home court location automatically raised awareness toward the student athletes and their need to perform well in school along with being active members of the community.

"Our goal with all of our programs is to put our student athletes in a position to compete in the Big East for a championship," Ponsetto said. "I am really proud of the work our student athletes do in terms of community service and our outreach."

She furthered explained, "Last year we had over 7,000 children from Chicago Public Schools come out on campus and do a Demon for the Day program and our student athletes worked with that program," she said. "I think it is important for us to continue to branch out and do a lot of the work that is important for a college university."

Building up a level of consistency within Chicago communities goes hand-in-hand with performing well not only on the court but in the classroom. DePaul's student athletes' success in these crucial areas of involvement combine to the growing questions and rumors revolving around a possible new venue.

Creating the best possible area of play always ties into the idea of a handful of these student athletes coming from families where they are the first generation of college bound students. Fundraising remains a large motive at DePaul that directly ties into athletics along with numerous other outlets, including the talk of a new arena.

As the lights die down in the beautiful new space, deemed home to the Blue Demons, the empty space still gives off a sense of DePaul pride and enhances that Chicago flavor that is truly embedded within basketball in Chicago.

Even though this hypothetical scene must come to a close, don't be too quick to completely look away. Just like the new feeling of being a part of the Big East is stirring up excitement due to its larger than life realism, so can the plan to transform this vision into new home court reality.


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