From The Toilet turns into to the bleachers this week. First, I went to the Ontario University Athletics rowing championships at the Henley Rowing Course in St. Catharines, then to the OUA soccer playoffs on Saturday and Sunday at Brock, stopped by the men’s lacrosse championships, women’s volleyball, men’s hockey and probably a few others that I forget. All in all, it was a busy few days for me, and I saw a lot of exciting sports and memorable moments. One thing it didn’t see though, was many fans.
Quite frankly, our school’s apathy towards our sports teams is getting pathetic, and a little disturbing. This season, Brock has three Ontario champions. Three! Combined attendance for those wins: Less than 500, I bet. Most of them being parents, alumni, or in the case of lacrosse this weekend, stragglers from other events.
The men’s soccer matches got a decent number of fans, but I’d still be surprised if the tally went anywhere above 800 for the two games. Mind you, the ones that showed were very vocal, but let’s not let that overshadow the point here: If we’re to be recognized as one of the best sports schools in the province, and with 29 sports, three Ontario champions and two other bronze medallists this year already that seems like a good judgement, we need people to give a crap and show up for the games.
Two years ago Michigan and Michigan State moved a hockey game outside, dubbed it “The Cold War” and asked people to pay a decent sum of money to show up. Yes, they showed up, and they cheered, and they set a world record for attendance at a hockey game, with 72,000! That’s approximately 71,800 more than I saw at the Brock versus Windsor game on Saturday night. This was just a season opener too. It wasn’t playoffs, or for any particular trophy, just a regular season hockey game.
Michigan also averages 108,000 people at their weekly football games. These aren’t just families and staff either. Legitimate, caring fans and students are making their way through the gate, paying to be there even, and having a good time while enjoying quality sports.
I’ll admit, Brock will never get that many people to an event, but they don’t really have to. I’d be happy to see 1,000 people at a basketball game or a hockey game. At least show these athletes that we care. Show them that we appreciate the fact they bust their asses, getting up for practices at 6am, missing tests and classes just to represent their school and play.
Don’t leave our powerhouse rowing team in the water, rowing without support. This is a team that has rivaled the world’s best, beating crews from Yale among others, and will go into the nationals this weekend as favourites, along with the University of Victoria. Instead, the only cheers came from myself and a few other teammates, while the grandstand sat there all by itself, longing to be sat on by at least one adoring fan.
Although we don’t have the number of students some universities do, I’m sure that we could fill the Thorold Arena once in a while.
There is a reason we The Press staff put a graphic on the front page of our section each week, advertising the upcoming events here at Brock. We want you to leave your Playstations and your televisions and your selfish little lives, and come out and give a crap by supporting your fellow athletes. We don’t do it for our health, that’s for sure.
I’m not saying that this school’s people suck. We have some devoted fans out there, and I mention “Badger Paul” as a prime example of a person who appreciates Brock sports, and goes out of his way to promote the events. He actually show up on game day as one of the most vocal people there as well.
And if you won’t do it for the athletes, do it for your friendly neighbourhood sports editor. If you don’t show up, the athletic department may cut all our sports and I’ll lose my job. Don’t make me lose this job, I love this job, and I love our teams. If I lose my job over fans not showing up to events, I’ll hunt all of you down, and you won’t like what I do when I find you.