Hillsdale Charger’s Football | Rachael Reynolds

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.