Giant cardboard cutouts of players’ faces, Capri Sun pouches and chants with the band’s every song; these were just some of the sights that accompanied the Oklahoma Christian University’s Flight Club at the Homecoming basketball games on Saturday.
Flight Club is the official fan club of Oklahoma Christian athletics. In addition to having a sign-in table at every home athletic event, Flight Club also occasionally drives a fan bus to out-of-town games, as was the case for Wednesday’s men’s basketball game at the University of Tulsa.
“I joined Flight Club because I would attend basketball games my freshman and sophomore year and it was a little embarrassing when there were only 10 people in the student section,” senior Jake Parker said. “Games were just not as fun when no one was there. Flight Club wants to change that by always having a group of people supporting our team in every sport, not just basketball.”
As the organization works to raise awareness and grow its numbers in its second year on campus, Flight Club’s president, senior Jackson Ross, said he wants to make students more aware of athletic events and increase school spirit.
“I want students to be excited for games at OC and have opponents dread coming here to the Nest,” Ross said. “We also want OC to be known as a place that is difficult to play at and for our athletes to succeed on their home court.”
For $20, students can purchase a new Flight Club membership or renew a previous membership for $10. Both include a Flight Club shirt, a sticker for discounts and the ability to sign into games for points.
For each game Flight Club members check into, they are awarded points. The organization then holds a spring banquet for the members who have gained the most points by the end of the year. Ross said the club is also working on an event in December for all members.
Members of the organization also receive various discounts at restaurants around Edmond, OK, including Marco’s Pizza, Dunkin’ Donuts, Klemm’s Smoke Haus and the Scooby Shack.
“It’s relatively easy to make your money back with the discounts and giveaways and it’s a low-cost way to support OC and OC athletics,” Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach and Flight Club Sponsor Rob McKinzie said. “Flight Club kind of put a name to our fan base and it is neat to see these students coming together for a common cause: to show up and support our student-athletes.”
This fall, Flight Club was present at the men and women’s home soccer games, as well as attended the Central Oklahoma Land Run at Santa Fe High School to support the Eagles and Lady Eagles cross country teams.
“This is a group of students who have dedicated themselves to supporting OC athletics without much benefit, and we are wanting to expand on what we did last year by building on the freshmen who come in each year,” McKinzie said. “Everyone who is associated with OC is a fan in one way or another, so we just want to make it official.”
While all Oklahoma Christian students are encouraged to join Flight Club, Ross said he hopes to see most student-athletes sign up as well.
“Student-athletes better understand the impact that support can make during games,” Ross said. “We hope to bridge the gap between students and athletes that sometimes exists.”
Students interested in joining Flight Club can sign up in the lobby of the gym before basketball games.
“Whether you love sports or could live without them, our athletes work hard to represent our school and games are fun with lots of people there cheering and supporting,” Parker said. “The more people that join, the better prizes we have so everyone should join Flight Club.”