It’s bigger than the ‘Battle of the Bay’

(norfolk state university)
(norfolk state university)

Jelani Scott | Sports Editor

Whether it is on a field, court or diamond, “Battle of the Bay” is one of the most anticipated dates on the calendar for all Hamptonians and Norfolk State students.

On January 30, the women’s and men’s basketball teams will take the floor against Norfolk State at 4 and 6 p.m., respectively, inside the Convocation Center with what is projected to be one of the biggest crowds of the season. Typically, the agenda for every “Battle of the Bay” has one standout objective: securing bragging rights.

But, when the four teams do battle Saturday night, the list will expand to include fellowship, giving back and networking.

For the first time ever, the Battle of the Bay basketball rivalry will be the backdrop to the second annual Hampton University Athletics Reunion Weekend, scheduled to take place January 29-30.  Some of the highlights of the weekend will be a meet-and-greet on Friday at Bar Louie at the Peninsula Town Centre from 7-9 p.m., a halftime ceremony honoring the alumni athletes and an after-party following the celebration at Bar Louie.

When asked about why this weekend was chosen to have the event, Assistant Athletic Director for Development Donovan Rose said, “Norfolk State is always a rivalry game and we just thought that would be the biggest draw to have our former athletes come back because I know, since back then, they still don’t like those Spartans.”

Rose, who is in third year in the position, is a native of Norfolk, Virginia and a 1979 graduate of Hampton University who has been involved with the Athletic Program for over 25 years.

“It’s a pride thing. We want to get all of those former athletes to, first of all, stay in touch with them and let them know what we’re doing with Hampton Nation,” said Rose in regards to what the purpose of the event is. “And then we want to just recognize them for the works they’re doing.”

The inaugural reunion event took place on October 17-18, 2014 and culminated in a Saturday afternoon football game against NSU. Rose and Director of Marketing and Promotions Dana Hubbard were instrumental in putting both events together.

The Lady Pirates (8-12, 6-1 in MEAC) are carrying the momentum of a four-game win streak against a Lady Spartans team that is still looking for their first win.

The Pirates (11-8, 7-1 in MEAC) suffered their first conference loss of the season against South Carolina State on Monday. They are hoping to rebound against their nemesis who have won 10 of their 22 games and are also on a four-game winning streak.

Last season, the Pirates only won in three games against the Spartans came in the MEAC Tournament where they went on to win the championship.

The Lady Pirates went 1-1 against their nemesis, with the loss coming in a nail-biter in overtime in Norfolk.

This weekend is shaping up to be yet another memorable chapter of the school’s storied athletic past, only this time the reasons will go beyond just the action on the hardwood.

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