Most of Winston-Salem State’s men’s basketball team did their part as early voting began at the Anderson Center.
“We waited a long time but it was a good experience, and as a team we kind of talked about a lot of things as we were moving in line,” freshman Isaac Parson said. “It’s our civic duty to vote, and being able to do it right on campus was also good.”
For Parson, for most of the Rams and for most college students, this will be their first times voting in a presidential election.
Xavier Fennell, a junior from Raleigh, plans to vote Friday in his home city but was there to support his teammates.
"(Voting) is big because we need to use all our resources to actually contribute to what we want to see happen in this country," Fennell said. "We help shape it, but us as young adults we need to take advantage and get involved early. Be the change you want to see in the world."
With the convenience of a voting site on campus, Coach Cleo Hill Jr. said: “There are no excuses.”
Hill and assistant coaches Lance Beckwith and Ricky Wilson made sure the team was registered to vote this past week. Then they all met at the Gaines Center on Thursday morning before walking over to the Anderson Center right before 8 a.m.
“It’s a great lesson in democracy and getting out to vote,” Hill said. “The guys were into it and realize the importance of voting.”
Of his 15 players, Hill said just three were not eligible to vote in North Carolina. Freshman Abnar Muhammad is from Chicago, Rasheen Merlin is from Maryland, and Cyrille Diop is from Paris.
“For some of them I think it was their first time voting, so I thought it was important for them to kind of see the process and to see the early-voting site,” said Hill, who will vote next week with his family.
“This is real life now and they have a chance to make a difference. I’m proud of them for making this happen, and I thought it went really well.”
When the Rams arrived at the Anderson Center around 8 a.m., a line had already formed. The wait was about two hours, Parson said, offering a team bonding experience.
"We talked about voting and what an important time this is," he said. "I was glad that we went as a team."
While the Rams took care of voting in the morning, their first full practice was scheduled for the afternoon.
“It just kind of worked out that way with the early voting starting on our first day of practice,” Hill said. “I know they are excited about us getting back on the court as a team.”