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‘We want to be there’: Gonzaga’s Kennel Club considering ways to stay in the game

The Kennel Club raises a ruckus against CSU Bakersfield during a November 2019 game at the McCarthey Athletic Center.  (By Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
The Kennel Club raises a ruckus against CSU Bakersfield during a November 2019 game at the McCarthey Athletic Center. (By Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

While Gonzaga went through a Kraziness in the Kennel scrimmage last week inside a virtually empty McCarthey Athletic Center, four-year Kennel Club member Crissy Lubke and a few neighbors watched the event on television.

“So many times it was, ‘That’s so sad, it’s so empty, it’s so different,’ ” said Lubke, Kennel Club brand representative. “I’d do 10 tent cities to get into McCarthey, I just miss it. We want to be there.”

About 6,000 others echo that thought, but the McCarthey Athletic Center is expected to be sans fans, at least through the remainder of the calendar year, due to COVID-19 concerns.

The Kennel Club, regarded as one of the best student sections in the country, is working with the athletic department to figure out ways to still have an impact despite not being allowed inside the Kennel. They made signs that were visible behind the announcers during the women’s FanFest telecast.

“We’re trying to have, probably in second semester, some outdoor gatherings for watch parties, things like that,” said Lubke, a senior from Hamilton, Montana. “It’s a lot of waiting and just hoping. We’ve been active on social media, promoting fan unity and rallying around them. We want to provide something for the students.”

Lubke has been a regular at men’s and women’s games and counts herself fortunate that she returned from studying abroad in Florence, Italy, in time to witness the Gonzaga-North Carolina game in December 2019. She didn’t hesitate when asked where she falls on a scale of 1 to 10, with one being unbothered and 10 being heartbroken by not attending games.

“I’m a 10,” she said. “If somebody would have told me last year I had seen my last basketball game in McCarthey I wouldn’t have believed them, because I had my whole senior year left.”

And her Kennel Club friends?

“They’re probably near a 10, too,” she said.

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