Nobody likes a fair-weather fan, especially when they come out by the dormful just for homecoming. This flaky fandom plagues the Hillsdale College athletic program every season. Blue-faced students garbed in Otter’s Army shirts pack the student section on two occasions only: the home opener and homecoming. This weekend will be no exception.
Students should treat every weekend like it’s homecoming weekend. Student attendance boosts morale on the field and in the stands. By making packed bleachers a Hillsdale norm, school spirit will skyrocket, and students will have some fun, too.
Of course, the home opener and the homecoming game are exciting events — they warrant record attendance numbers. But the games in between matter too. That chilly, rainy Saturday matchup against a non-rival team still matters to the athletes, and it should matter to the rest of the study body, as well.
When explaining his copout, a typical student resorts to one of two backpocket excuses: homework or sleep. Though important, these excuses pale in comparison to a student athlete’s homework and sleep requirement.
That scruffy-looking athlete sporting sweatpants and bags under their eyes had a 6 a.m. lift, an 8 a.m. meeting with his coach, and he still made it to your 10 a.m. biology class. Don’t forget: he’ll return to the sports complex in just a few hours for physical therapy and a two-hour practice. He’ll cap his night with a team bible study, praying that he somehow finds time to complete that lab report you finished five hours ago.
Checking that essay off your to-do list might feel good after a Saturday afternoon in the library, but that athlete in your English class would have appreciated another body in the stands, another cheer after that touchdown, or more reassuring applause after a tough loss.
By all means, pack the stands this Saturday. Tailgate with the alumni before the game. Stick around after to congratulate or console your peers on the field. And in a couple weeks, when any Hillsdale team plays at home again, remember the fun you had at the homecoming game, shut the books, and head over to the stadium again.