Sports / January 22, 2009

A call to action: Fan support may be the difference

I tend to remain pretty quiet and laid back until something really honks me off. Then, my Irish side comes out.

“Top ‘o’ the mornin’ to ya.”

Oftentimes, it’s the common settling for mediocrity that gets me most riled. There’s nothing I hate more than people deciding that what they’re doing is simply “good enough,” not willing to stand up and push themselves to meet their highest potential. Ask the guys that live with me in Tompkins 2. There’s a poster hanging with a Michelangelo quote.

“The danger for most of us is not that our goal is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

With a women’s basketball team who has notched, albeit more than the past few years, just four wins, and a men’s teams still struggling for numero uno, one might think that’s where I’m headed with this criticism. It’s not.

Essentially every home game, you’ll see me up at the top of Memorial Gymnasium, helping Co-Sports Information Director, William Becque, keep track of statistics. Every week it’s the same story: a gross lack of fan support.

I worked the games over break, and with few students on campus, it was to be expected that the gym would be relatively devoid of fans. But I’ve worked the ones since we got back, and, surprisingly, it’s just as bad. And at times, like Tuesday night, the number of people on Heimann Court outnumbers that of fans in the bleachers.

But perhaps the most egregious showing of all was at the Knox-Monmouth game on Jan. 13. By that time, we’d been back at school for over a week. We profess that we hate Monmouth – we should. They are our rivals, after all. But we’re mediocre at best in our actions. In terms of fan support, the game was, essentially, another home game for the Scots, even though they were forced to travel 20 miles in inclement weather. Monmouth fans outnumbered Knox fans. The sea of red was more expansive than the meager sections of purple. The Scots’ fans were louder, more active, and more obnoxious. And they put our Fire teams in an uncomfortable situation on a court they should know all too well, against opponents who were, quite frankly, all too equal.

Monmouth went home with a sweep that Tuesday, due in no small part to the lack of support we showed. The group of Knox students under the basket was valiant in its efforts, but the lack of purple and gold in the rest of the gym was simply pathetic. The extent to which a loud, active fan section can help an athletic team is debatable. The fact that it can have a big effect on a close game, however, is not.

Tim Heimann Court, by design, is a loud place. Even with a hundred people in the gym, it’s difficult to hear one’s self think. But it’s not loud enough. Our athletes, despite the lack of breakthrough success, continue to work their asses off, each day pushing themselves for hours upon hours to wear the purple and gold and represent Knox to the best of their abilities. But we, the students, must do a better job of supporting them and pushing them to have the drive to continue doing so.

Men’s basketball coach Rob Purlee may have said it best.

“A lesser group of kids might have said, ‘Screw it.’”

But, they haven’t. So, why have we?

Colin Davis

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