Empty Seats Affecting Morale

John Kelly

Colgate students as Raiders fans are downright pathetic. Although Colgate ranks 16th on the liberal arts college list in the US News and World Reports, this school is 365th, dead last, out of all Division 1 universities, in basketball attendance. Complaining about school spirit has become a rite of passage in the Maroon-News. Every year writers condemn the utter lack of interest in the athletic endeavors of our fellow students. If we went to a large university and tickets were extremely hard to come by, I could understand a lack of interest in attending athletic events; however, we live in Hamilton, New York, where there is next to nothing to do. Yet less than one hundred students manage to make the five-minute walk and two-second drive from their dorm rooms down to Cotterell Court. I headed down to Cotterell Court last Tuesday in anticipation of a crazy game against the nationally renowned Bucknell Bison (a team that has twice upset higher seeds in the NCAA Tourney). In my three years at Colgate, the only time I saw some semblance of school spirit was last year when the Raiders played Bucknell on a Saturday. Cotterell Court was bumping and rowdy fans filled the bleachers, which truly gave the Raiders a home court advantage. I entered the court at 6:30 p.m. utterly dismayed by the number of empty seats. By 7:00 p.m., my fears were confirmed and it seemed as though our men’s basketball team would have to play once again in relative anonymity. Well, all you Raiders fans that weren’t there missed one hell of a game! The Raiders climbed back into the game from an 11-point deficit and hung in there until the final seconds. Although they couldn’t pull out the victory, I was left to wonder if there would have been a different outcome had there been thousands of Colgate fans screaming their lungs out for their fellow classmates.

As I walked by the announcer’s desk, I heard Bucknell Bison Coach Pat Flannery say, “Coming into a place like Colgate is really tough. I mean it is hard to play with intensity when the seats are basically empty and the stands so quiet. It was such a contrast to our home court on Saturday and it was a letdown coming in here.”

This is so disconcerting because there are downright no excuses for our paltry attendance. I could understand if we were bearing down on finals week and everyone had too much work, but this was the second week of classes. I realize that House was on Fox, but if you want some real-life drama all you need to do is to get off your ass and head down to Cotterell Court. I promise you our teams will not disappoint you!

I feel that if the Colgate student body showed one-tenth of the spirit that they exude for a beer pong game, then Cotterell Court would be bumping for basketball games. It is a sad but true fact. The only way I foresee us getting students down to cheer on our teams is if we start handing out grades for school spirit. Well, I got news for everyone right now. The student body deserves a flat-out F.