Since I arrived at UR several months ago, very few things have bothered me on campus. Among the occasional complaints regarding the food selection or the perennial mess in the bathrooms of Sue B., one issue for me has risen above the rest. While I will not be the first person to point out the lack of support for UR sporting events, I hope to be able to shed some light on the issue and steer it in a positive direction. Our sports teams are important to our institution; without them, we would not be the same.
My initiation to the UR sporting world came in the form of football during the Courage Bowl last September. I was excited, and so were the many fans around me as we cheered on our team against our rival, St. John Fisher. During the next few weeks, however, I came to the realization that either people here just disregarded our teams or that students are misinformed. I believe it is the latter, not the former, that plagues our attendance levels.
I’ve heard many excuses. Division III sports don’t mean very much, the teams aren’t very good or it’s too cold outside. All of these mask a more glaring issue with our mentality toward sports and even other extra-curricular events on campus.
One of the most common problems that I’ve noticed is that people do not realize when our teams play. The CT or the UR Events Bulletin can only do so much. Many times I will ask a friend if he wants to go to a game, and typically, he will not have even realized that we have one scheduled. The games with the largest crowds have all been the ones with the most hype from the school, the SA and other organizers such as the D’Lions. These include the Courage Bowl, Meliora Weekend and the men’s basketball playoff game last Friday night. For each of these games, the University and the student body have done an excellent job in getting people excited about a UR sporting event.
Other games, however, have received less publicity for various reasons. Both UR soccer teams reached the NCAA Tournament last season. Despite having a chance to watch three exciting playoff games, only a small proportion of our community supported the teams at Fauver Stadium. With over 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students, parents and members of the Rochester community, it is unacceptable to show such low levels of support.
With spring arriving soon, many great sports are just on the horizon. Baseball, softball, lacrosse and track and field are just beginning, as well as another season for tennis. Even if you don’t want to follow much of the game, it will at least be a fun atmosphere. It is my hope that the excitement displayed for men’s basketball last Friday night will be more than just an anomaly for sports here at UR. The change will not be easy, but with the continued assistance from our organizational bodies, I’m positive that the excitement levels from most UR students will increase.
Wasserman is a member of the class of 2010.