Just this past April, my fellow contributors and I came out early on the day of the Spring Football Game to set up a giveaway table for tailgating fans/students as a way to better promote our online magazine and since we were and still are a fairly new organization, as well as one of our partners, College Hautees. Though we were surprised and, obviously, flattered by how many said that they were already fans of our writing, we were more surprised by the lack of students who actually turned out for the sporting event.
Don’t get me wrong, there was a pretty large crowd in Death Valley that afternoon. It just got me to thinking about student turnout rates at all athletic events and how we, as Clemson Tigers, need to do a better job of supporting our fellow classmates.
I, too, am personally guilty of not showing enough support and pride in all our athletic teams. I’m ashamed to say the amount of times this past basketball season where I watched games on television or ESPN3 while “doing work” instead of simply going down to Littlejohn where we have free tickets there waiting for us. Our basketball team wasn’t amazing this year, but considering they play top ranked teams like Duke and UNC every year, sometimes twice, they probably would’ve done better with more support. And their record may have been 16-15, but 12 out of 15 of their losses were by less than 10 points. On top of that, they beat Florida State 79-59 earlier this year before the Seminoles went on to become the ACC Champions. That’s pretty impressive considering the amount of open seats you can see in Littlejohn on national television.
It is also important that we remember our other teams as well. We tend to concentrate on our major sports, football, basketball, and baseball, but it’s vital that we also turnout from time to time and support our other athletes, as well. I’m never going to expect anyone to feel as passionately about our tennis team as we do our football team, but I can bet they put in just as much time and effort into preparing for their competitions as the other does. And they do this on top of traveling and balancing an academic career and social life. I think showing a little more pride for smaller and lesser-known teams would be much appreciated by our classmates, as well as strengthen the bond of the Clemson family and community.
So, I think now is a perfect time for us all to try and make an effort to better support our athletes. It’s a new year, so the next time you’re bored, grab some friends and go to a random sporting event you wouldn’t normally think of going to. You may find yourself greatly enjoying it and wanting to go see another. Or, if you played volleyball or soccer or even did track and field back in the glory days of high school, go see one of those sporting events and remind yourself why you used to love it so much. You’ll be glad you did.