Maybe it is the school, maybe it’s the people, but it’s fair to say that UR is rather lacking in school spirit when it comes to sports.
Although some teams like field hockey, soccer, and basketball, have had success in recent years, attendance still feels lackluster.
In order to improve the school spirit regarding athletics, you need to impact three important aspects of the sports culture: coaches, fans, and players.
A university must put some effort into hiring coaches capable of bringing in players who fit their style and are willing to buy in to a winning culture. You must be able to give students incentives to care about it. The obvious incentive is a winning team. No one wants to support a loser.
A winning team will draw the attention of the local students and surrounding area. But let’s say that the team starts to lose. It is not easy to consistently win on the college level. Yet to some students, a winning team is nice, but having fun is the primary reason they want to come to the game.
As a result, making a genuine effort to liven up the scenery will attract sports fans and non-sports fans alike. Events like pep rallies, tailgates, and bands will raise morale and excitement.
Another important aspect of the fan side of this culture is traditions. Whether it be a specific kind of chant or song or a halftime race, traditions establish a unity in the fanbase that make sports attractive. The inclusion of fans in the events make it a more enjoyable experience and excites students about attending games.
While coaches and fans are important, the most crucial step to changing the sports culture lies with the players. Student-athletes who are nonchalant, non-committal, and unfocused will never help the team, no matter how talented.
It is not only up to the coach but also leaders on the team to reform the culture in the locker room. A vision is needed for the team to see what the ideal culture should look like. Motivation and discipline will aid in this task.
A tyrannical coach will hurt the team but a coach who is able to establish a clear line of respect and discipline can motivate his players to achieve their full potential. As the players become motivated and able to put in their best work, the team will continuously improve.
All of these factors are key to turning around a school’s program and creating a fun, entertaining, and successful environment. Though sports clearly come second to the administration, a little more attention the athletic programs and sports teams would go along way for the University. The student body may be split on various issues, but a unified student spirit will make sporting events infinitely better.