My first year at Brock was in 2016 and the spirit from the student body at major athletic events was impressive — more than you would expect (compared to the likes of NCAA fan bases). Though, this past Saturday night at the Badgers’ ‘Paint the Meridian Red’ games at the Meridian Centre downtown, the energy was way different compared to 2016 — or for that matter 2017 and 2018.
In the past three and a half years, the ‘We Are Ready’ fanbase has slowly died down.
The Meridian Centre was not packed for the women’s or men’s game this past weekend and despite both teams winning their games — the arena started to empty out before the final buzzer of the men’s game.
It’s not to say the fan base at Brock has completely disappeared. The Steel Blade Classic at the beginning of the year was sold out at the Meridian Centre — with 4,752 fans in attendance. Though, that is also coupled with homecoming weekend and at a time of year where there isn’t much competition with other sports. What do I mean by other sports? Well, for one, the NFL playoffs were probably a major competition for the basketball games. Maybe we’re comparing apples and oranges, but there will have been a handful of people who would have preferred staying home (and out of the horrible weather) so they could see the playoff games rather than going downtown.
Another disappointing factor was the difference in attendance from the women’s game to the men’s game. The Brock women’s basketball team was ranked in the top 10 nationally going into Saturday’s game against Toronto, but still more fans showed up for the men’s game than the women’s. I mean, come on people, when a team is good, show up to watch.
While there will always be other factors that could impact the attendance numbers, even the fans who were at the games just didn’t have the same energy level that they’ve had in the past. A big basket by either Brock team surely got lots of cheers and you could still tell who the home team was … but it just wasn’t the same.
The surprising factor to me? Brock Badgers as a whole are better now than they were in 2016. Sure, men’s basketball isn’t as dominant as they were in the final two years of Charles Kissi’s tenure, but they’ll be back at that level soon. There are a number of Badger teams who are winning more now than any current student has ever seen.
Badger fans need to show up for their teams. When the student-athletes and coaches are putting a great product on the floor, the fans owe it to the teams to show up and prove they are the best fans in Canada.