By: Jesse Schrade
Make some noise Lancer fans because winning is everything, isn’t it?
Of course, winning is fun, it makes the team happy, makes the fans happy and it builds a positive culture. However, fans should not only be fans of a team if they are winning. Look at the Toronto Maple Leafs, for example, they were awful for years but still maintained a strong fan base. Remember though, this is Canadian University football and that can’t be compared to professional sports teams.
The football season is over and the Lancers did not have a winning season. They gave up a lot of points and their star power is as hard to find as Waldo. Is it surprising then, that fans do not fill the seats?
Even with an average attendance of 1200, it represents 60 percent of Alumni Stadium capacity. That is not a terrible number when it comes to Canadian University football, but this isn’t the Sex Panther cologne from the movie Anchorman, 60 percent of the time does not work all the time in terms of attendance. When half the stadium is empty at home games, it resembles opening a bag of chips and seeing six inches of air.
Then, who is to blame for the lack of attendance. Is it the athletic director? The coach? The team? Or the student body? The answer is yes, all of these groups are at fault. If a team is not winning, change needs to happen. Wins should not be the only factor to entice fans, but it does help. Change starts with those in positions of power; the athletic director, the head coach, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator.
No one needs to get fired per se, just the philosophies of these individuals need to change. Maybe the team needs a personality shake-up, bring in some new personnel who can really change the game. Lastly, the student body whose population is just short of 16,000 needs to get more involved. Spirit is important in school culture and to have fans in the seats should tilt the advantage to the home team and create positive changes in performance.
In regards to the student population, why do they not attend games in sell-out numbers? Why is there a lack of school spirit and pride for the teams? It’s probably due to a lack of knowledge of the schedule, the teams and its players. The divide between main campus and Alumni Field is mind-boggling. Many students are unfamiliar with the terrain existing past the train tracks at Union Street and California. These tracks seem to represent a yin and yang relationship between athletics and education.
Now to fix this problem what can be done? Promotions across campus and an increased social media presence can help add to attendance numbers. This university needs to be more than just getting a degree, the students need to take pride in being a Lancer. There needs to be wins.
Call it a high school move, but before a Lancer home game, have a pep rally. Social settings that have music and games to attract fans. Build a winning culture and people will come. If students enjoy the pep rally, they will stay for the game with their friends. The atmosphere of the game will induce cheers. Cheering shows support, support will build pride and motivate the team. A motivated team will hopefully result in wins. Thus building a new found culture and an increase in attendance.
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