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McDonald: have we turned into bandwagon fans?

Story by Kristopher McDonald

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Last weekend, the women’s basketball team won two games, the men’s basketball team won a game, the cross country team hosted a regional meet and the volleyball team advanced to the semifinals of the Heart of America Athletic Conference tournament. Did you catch any of the action?

Unless you were one of the Wildcat diehard supporters who found the way to the Collins Center or the Baldwin City Municipal Golf Course, I doubt you did. During the women’s games, every spectator in the stands could have sprawled out over a couple rows and taken a nice nap. The fans might have reached a decibel level of two. The men’s game was only slightly better with about 20 students who periodically stood and chanted for the Wildcats.

The volleyball team actually saw an exception to this recent trend of poor attendance. The stands were full of ‘Cats supporters, but was this just because it was postseason play?

Have we at Baker University become bandwagon fans for our own institution? I believe we have.

Head football coach Mike Grossner and his ‘Cats came out on fire starting 2-1. The stands started to fill. Then they had a hiccup against Evangel University, and the support started to subside. Why is it when our teams need us, the fans, we have jumped off the wagon?

The men’s and women’s soccer teams never had many people jump on with them. They saw minimal crowds, which confuses me. Here at Baker, our teams play a pretty good brand of soccer.

I kept hearing from people our men’s soccer team was down this year because we weren’t quite Brazil, dominating the world. If you saw the ‘Cats play, you knew they were great players with all the talent in the world who just so happened to fail at catching a break all year.

The women’s team overcame youth and inexperience to fall just short of making the playoffs. Sophomore Sara Matthews scored the game-winning goal in overtime of the first ever soccer game held at night at Baker. Don’t you wish you saw that?

Now, I know we go to Baker and time isn’t always an option, but let’s dive in the back of the wagon and go along for the ride. Almost half of this university’s population is composed of student-athletes, and as student-athletes we need to get behind each other.

You think you don’t get fans at your games? Then go support another team. It rubs off, I promise. Other teams will return the favor.

As a baseball player, I could never complain about the support we get. People come out and get rowdy for us. You don’t think the fans matter?

We never lost a Friday night conference home game last year. Teams hated coming to Sauder Field.

Most athletes will tell you they could play in an empty arena because they just play for the love of the game. Um … right. That’s what we call practice. An athlete needs a stage to perform on, and we need to give them that stage.

Our teams, men and women, need the support of our school. Students, faculty, parents, townies, whoever – start filling the stands. Let’s make Baker a place where nobody wants to come and play.

In the words of men’s soccer coach Alan Koch, let’s find our “Baker pride and Baker passion.”

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