Redhawks football watch parties unite fans, alumni
Football playoff watch parties in Cape Girardeau erupted with hype from dedicated fans and Southeast Missouri State University alumni as the Redhawks battled Weber State for the NCAA Division I Football Championship on Saturday.
Andrea Thompson was viewing the game with Damon Wilson at Port Cape Girardeau. She lives in Cape Girardeau and has worked for Southeast since 2014; Wilson is from St. Louis.
“I have not missed a home game this year,” Thompson said. “I downloaded the ESPN app so I could watch us play Murray (State University). We were at a wedding in St. Louis when we played [Southern Illinois University Carbondale], and I was on Twitter nonstop.”
Howard and Roberta Lynn also were in attendance. Both are Southeast alumni who live in Scott City, and were excited for Southeast, he said.
“A lot of alum is in this room,” he said. “We’re supporting Southeast Missouri State. This can be nothing but good for the university.”
Saturday’s momentum will bring in a lot of people to the community, they agreed, “especially if they can sustain.”
They said they have been following the Redhawks ever since they attended Southeast. Howard Lynn graduated in 1985; Roberta Lynn graduated in 1984.
“Doc” Dennis Cain, owner of Port Cape Girardeau, said he wasn’t 100 percent sure he would be hosting a watch party this year, but he was able to get everything in place by game time.
Before kickoff Saturday, Cain said he wasn’t quite sure how many people to expect, but he was ready for a crowd of any size.
“We have a lot of local Redhawk fans,” he said. “We’re doing complimentary chili and hotdogs, and we’re running some specials. It’s our way to say thanks to our patrons who come in, and also to cheer on the team. We’re big supporters of the football program and we’re thrilled for them.”
Southeast alumnus Sandy Goldberg was watching the game on the big screen and enjoying a beer at Port Cape Girardeau’s bar.
Goldberg, who graduated from Southeast in 1979, said he wanted to be part of the watch party because he once lived downtown before moving out of Cape Girardeau 10 years ago.
He has attended all the Southeast home games this year, Goldberg said, and even checked into going out to the game in Utah, but decided against it because of the “20-hour drive and $1,100 airfare.”
“But as good as the teams that we had back when we were Division II, we never have done this well; to win at home in a playoff game and now go to the second round,” he said.
Lewis Bock — 1963 Southeast graduate and Cape Girardeau native — was attending the watch party within a sea of other red shirts and hoodies at Wings Etc. in Cape Girardeau.
Bock said he has been a follower of Southeast sports since his father was the second president of the university’s booster club in 1951.
“I went to every football and basketball game,” Bock said.