Spirit of Lopes on the Road focuses on fun
Editor’s note: Reprinted from the November issue of GCU Magazine. To read the digital version of the magazine, click here.
By Rick Vacek
The Lopes on the Road gathering for a men’s soccer match at San Jose State University started innocently enough. Jeff Barton, a university development counselor in Gilroy, Calif., picked up the free tickets, food vouchers and Grand Canyon University swag for his family and wondered what kind of turnout he’d see.
“All of a sudden,” Barton said, “all these GCU people started trickling in. It was really motivating.”
Before long, there were more fans in purple – all sitting together – than followers of the home team. “None of us knew each other,” he said, “but it was really neat school spirit.”
There’s a kicker to the story. Barton’s daughter is a student at San Jose State. So is her boyfriend. Yet they still sat in the GCU section, and they had such a good time, they were rooting for the Lopes by the end of the game.
It’s a scene typically found at Lopes on the Road, which takes the spirit generated at GCU home games and sends it far and wide – especially to California, where there are more than 16,200 alumni. There will be four more gatherings in California during this academic year plus the Wooden Legacy men’s basketball tournament Nov. 22-25 in Fullerton, Calif. – it’s not an official LOTR event but will have a big turnout of Lopes.
Lopes on the Road is even fun for the staff. The San Jose State game also was the first LOTR event for Alumni Program Coordinator Bryanna Slattery. She enjoyed seeing GCU fans from a variety of backgrounds – alumni, employees, families of current students and online students who have heard about the Havocs-fueled atmosphere at GCU home games and want to see how well it travels.
“I think that’s why so many fans continue to attend Lopes on the Road games,” Slattery said. “They create an opportunity for out-of-state fans to be a part of cultivating that atmosphere of Lope pride where they live.”
Even if they weren’t Lopes fans when they got there.
FUTURE LOPES ON THE ROAD EVENTS
Sunday, Dec. 2 – UC-Santa Barbara
Saturday, Dec. 15 – Texas
Saturday, Dec. 29 – San Diego
Thursday, Jan. 10 – New Mexico State
Saturday, Jan. 26 – California Baptist
Thursday, Feb. 14 – Kansas City
Saturday, Feb. 16 – Chicago State
Saturday, March 9 – Seattle
Tuesday, April 23 – Arizona
Friday, May 18 – Sacramento State
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.