Posted on 26 February 2014.
Our student section at basketball games is beyond pathetic.
Yeah, I said it.
Dare I say boring? Yes, yes I do. Because we are boring. We’re pitiful. We’re melancholy and we’re wretched. Was that too dramatic?
I barely scratched the surface.
During the final home game of the season last week, I looked around Luckey Arena, and it was filled, which delighted my soul. Except then I noticed that while our male seniors were being honored at their final regular season home game, a solid portion of the audience had their heads buried in their phones.
IWU, it’s time to hop off the “if we don’t Facebook/Tweet/Instagram this event did it happen?” train. Of course it happened, we just missed it because we were too busy texting our friends who we have to talk to every minute of every day.
I talked to Athletic Director Mark DeMichael about our student section and we were definitely tracking along the same lines.
“In the entire conference I would say that we have the best attendance out of our students in anybody in the league, so I’m very proud of the fact that we get so many students that come to games – that’s positive,” DeMichael said. “I wish they got more involved in the game … most of the time I look over and half our student section is staring at their phones during the game and they’re not engaged.”
So kudos to you, IWU students. When it comes to showing up, you sure know how to show up.
But evidently that’s all you can do – and it’s extremely noticeable.
Maybe you aren’t aware because you were too busy Instagramming that picture of your McConn coffee cup, but our men’s and women’s basketball teams are on the brink of championships.
The men’s team is the No. 1 seed in the Crossroads League Tournament and the women’s team is the No. 3 seed in the Crossroads League Tournament. The women trounced Taylor 59-37 Tuesday night. We have some of the top teams in the Crossroads League and none of you seem to care.
Why don’t you care?
Maybe you don’t realize the effect that you have on the basketball players. Yes, you people sitting in the stands texting and occasionally looking up to do a score check have a huge impact on our players.
“When we hear the crowd erupt after someone hits a big shot it’s an awesome feeling that you can’t describe,” said guard Jordan Weidner (sr). “It gives us goosebumps on the court and I think it makes the game more exciting for the fans.”
Why are we denying them this feeling?
I talked with men’s basketball head coach Greg Tonagel, and sitting during the games doesn’t go unnoticed. He called our student section a “mixed bag,” saying we have good cheering days and lame cheering days, and you never really know which one you’re going to get.
It’s embarrassing when one of the head coaches of the basketball team knows you’re sitting there not caring about the hours of time they put into practice. All the sweat, pain and energy that they put into this game.
DeMichael even said that the “6th Man” effect is vital to our athletes.
At this point I’d say we’re more of a virus than a vital component.
We’re supposedly vital, and it’s becoming clear that all we’re concerned with is our smartphones.
At the women’s game against Taylor last night, 27 people sat in the 6th Man section (I counted) and the loudest person cheering was a little old seventy-something-year-old woman in a turquoise sweater.
So what’s the deal?
Are you not cheering because you’re too cool?
Because you feel awkward?
Don’t do it! Don’t be too cool or feel awkward! Be the biggest fan. Start chants, clap loudly, scream, yell, cheer, stand, applaud! Make posters – do something!
But don’t be rude, because when you’re rude it discourages others from getting involved in cheering – plus it makes me want to knock you off the bleachers.
So I ask you to be clever, not obnoxious. Be loud, not silent. Be the enthusiastic fans that cheer our basketball teams to national championships.
Coach Tonagel asked for one more thing.
“Everybody there is together and they’re one and they’re part of our team. We appreciate the time they’re taking to show up to the game and you know, if someone can start chanting then the rest will follow,” Tonagel said. “And if they’re unified in their chants and their cheering then that brings us a lot of energy.”
We get one more chance before spring break to prove ourselves, but Tuesday night’s women’s game against Taylor really did nothing to help our case. So prove me wrong.
Men’s quarterfinal game against Taylor. 7 p.m.
Will the real 6th Man please stand up?