Bobcat athletics deserves more spirit from fans
Whether you’re in the stands or in front of your television screen, it’s impossible to miss the intense school spirit that surges throughout some of the college athletic events around the country, particularly in regard to football. For the 2012-13 season at Georgia College, I want to see this kind of excitement for our sports teams.
Watching college football’s opening weekend has always been an event for me. Growing up in Athens meant cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs every Saturday sandwiched between hours of tailgating and enjoying big games from other universities and colleges. Standing in Stanford Stadium with 92,745 other screaming, raging and passionate Dawg fans can only be described as electric. The energy builds to a level that gives you goosebumps; whether the game results in a victory or a loss for the home team, you can’t deny the school spirit that saturates the atmosphere.
And it isn’t just Sanford Stadium or the Georgia Bulldogs. Universities like LSU, Duke and University of Southern California have fans all over the country that devote themselves to their favorite schools and the incredible athletic programs within them. Just take a look at Penn State’s opening football game last Saturday.
We all are aware of Joe Paterno’s tragic firing from the head coach position in 2011, soon followed by his death in early 2012. The loss of that man shook the university to its core, and it was unknown how well the school and its population would bounce back. But sure enough, Beaver Stadium was filled with fans once again, united and eager to take on the new season. Their school spirit was overwhelming.
Uh-oh, there’s that term again: school spirit. It has such tacky connotations. Images of high school cheerleaders trying to pump up an unenthusiastic student crowd and corny half-time speeches flash through my mind when I hear it. It’s been built into our heads as some silly cliché. And what’s even worse is hearing that your school needs more of it. Nobody likes to be told to get excited about your team when the energy isn’t there in the first place.
But at GC, I believe we have something to be excited about. I believe our athletes are talented enough to draw in enough fans to fill the stands at every game. The Bobcat basketball, baseball, tennis and soccer teams consistently place in the top at the Peach Belt Conference, so it’s no secret that our players are competitive and our games are entertaining.
The GC athletics program is taking steps to help bump up our school spirit, namely with the LOYALTIVA Rewards Program, where fans who attend athletics events are given points that are redeemable for prizes and memorabilia. This is a step in the right direction. More incentives to draw people out to Bobcat games will be helpful.
But I believe the biggest incentive is already there. Our players are talented and competitive, and there is immense potential to turn GC athletic events into something as big and school spirit-filled as a UGA football game.