Welcome Spider fans. Welcome to another year of Richmond sports. Welcome to the realm of A-10 titles and Sweet 16s, with some pretty great players on some damn great teams. It's where the legends are made and where all the players get paid. (Nah, just kidding).
The good news about this year is we'll all get to take it in together as fans cheer on Kendall Gaskins and the football team in Robins Stadium or Emily Straniero and the field hockey team over at Crenshaw field. The bad news is you'll have to listen to me write about this stuff on a weekly basis. At least the sports will be quality?
Being both a Collegian sports guy and an athlete at this school, I try to keep the shots fired to a minimum in these columns. It wouldn't be too smart of me to call out the people that I see in the hallways of Robins on a day-to-day basis. However, here comes the first shot. Gun's loaded. Ready? OK.... We, as a student body, don't show enough support for our athletes.
Two examples before anyone freaks out.
1. The masses leaving football games early last fall. Sure, you were in the sun, and sure, the scoreboard was behind you, and sure, you could be out drinking more. But come on. These football players have been putting in too much work for that to happen, no matter the score. These guys have been here all summer grinding it out, getting in shape, both mentally and physically. The least we can do as fellow Spiders is to support them as a sea of raucous red and blue in our student section, which, by the way, is on the other side of the field this year.
2. Last year, our men's basketball team played Vanderbilt University in the second round of the NCAA tournament. That day, I saw a student wearing a Vanderbilt t-shirt walking through the quad. C'MON MAN! I understand if you have family who goes there, or you transferred from there, or if you're actually one of the Vanderbilts yourself. But you decided to wear it the day that your school was facing off with them in the playoffs? That's just wrong. I realize this was only one student and not a representation of all of us. Maybe I'm just venting. Oh well. You get the point.
I'm not saying this to be critical of our university. I'm saying this to provide a challenge to ourselves as students. We can all do a better job of supporting athletics, from basketball to cross country. I was even guilty last year of not going to certain sporting events or leaving other ones early. Yes, you can call me a hypocrite. I'm like the parent who yells at the kids for smoking weed, and then lights up the blunt in the adjacent room. However, I'm also going to accept the challenge. I promise to the University of Richmond that I will attend at least two events for every sport this year. I challenge you all to do the same. Your presence at these games actually does make a difference. It means more to the athletes than you'll ever know. On that note, the first men's soccer home game is Sept. 21. I'm just saying.