Small Gesture, Big Impact

Rivalry Aside, ODAC Stands as One


Jordan Davis

The Washington and Lee men’s basketball head coach Chris McHugh, right, and assistant coach Matt Williams, left. They, along with their entire squad, wore #BCStrong t-shirts during warmups to provide solidarity and support for the Bridgewater College community.

Jordan Davis, News Editor

Bridgewater, Va. – On Feb. 8, the Bridgewater College men’s basketball team hosted Washington & Lee for the first time this season, exactly one week after tragedy struck Bridgewater’s campus. 

Physical support overflowed Nininger Hall as this game became the highest-attended basketball contest of the year, with over 900 people in attendance.

Not only did the men’s team receive support from students, police officers, Bridgewater employees and family, but the entire team and coaching staff at W&L also showed their support by wearing Bridgewater’s #BCStrong t-shirts during warmups.

“The fact that W&L told us that they wanted to wear our shirts during their warmups was very genuine and appreciative,” said sophomore guard Keiman Dillon. “It was beyond thoughtful that they considered to not only show us support on Instagram, but to rock our BC logo like they were one of us. In a time like this, you need support from everyone.” 

As the Old Dominion Athletic Conference is ultimately about competition, W&L demonstrated that in the ODAC community, it is more than just sports. 

The simple act of W&L wearing a #BCStrong t-shirt is what separates people by their character. Simple gestures are extremely powerful. They make people feel acknowledged and loved by providing reminders of the values, commitment and respect each person contributes to their relationships. 

Shenandoah University, James Madison University and W&L are just a few of the Virginia colleges and universities that have reached out to offer encouragement and sympathy in these difficult times. These colleges and institutions have demonstrated that support comes in various forms and is the embodiment of what it means to be a part of a community, whether it was through a social media post, a letter to the dean and officers’ families, or wearing a competitors’ emblem during warmups.

Strong communities are essential, because they offer a platform for connection and a sense of solidarity that unites many people. Being a part of the Virginia college and university community not only strengthens our sense of belonging and togetherness, but we are also all able to do and be something greater than ourselves.

“It’s incredible to have so much ODAC community support,” said Dillon. “With the strong sense of community I’ve had over the last week, I believe it’s critical because it fosters brotherhood throughout each team – regardless of which school we represent, allowing people to grow and connect.”

Competition aside, everyone in Nininger was an Eagle prior to tip-off.