Thursday, June 24, 2021
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Can Lions Day increase interest?

When was the last time you went to a basketball game? A swim meet? A track meet? If you’re reading the sports page, you probably play a sport. Do you read the articles that aren’t about yours? The College is forever trying to cure the student body of its apathetic reputation, and it’s started with the athletes.

This season, the athletic department began Lions Day. Each sport picks one home competition and athletes in all of the other sports are required to don their Lions regalia and show their pride by being athletic supporters.

Not so bad, I thought. I like wrestling and I had to write the article on it anyway.

So Wednesday night, there I was, plopped down in a cluster of other gray sweatshirt-wearing runners. The wrestling team clobbered Wilkes in an impressive display of muscular might. Packer was, well, packed. Jocks united!

I didn’t know a damn thing about basketball, except that we lost. But there were still plenty of my teammates there to explain what was going on. I cheered and clapped and stood when everyone else did. I sat down when everyone else did.

After that, everyone seemed a little less enthusiastic about Lions Day. I didn’t recognize many people at the swim meet. They were mostly moms with little kids.

The track meet had lots of people, but a good number of them were ex-members and families. The bleachers at the women’s basketball game were pretty much filled, I’ll give you that, but I didn’t see many teammates there.

I’m not claiming to be a gung-ho proponent of attending every event on campus. I’m not going to lie. I was guilt tripped into going to my first-ever basketball game and I brought a book to the swim meet.

We’re all busy or tired or hung over and you don’t get credit for going to other sports events. It’s 15 degrees out, “A Makeover Story” is on and no one will notice if you are not there.

Remember that track meet? The one where almost all the spectators were the families of the team member?

I didn’t care. There was a huge crowd, watching me run in a circle and everyone in it seemed interested. And I ran the 3000, an unglamorous event in a relatively unappreciated sport. But I knew they were there. They’d rather watch the 4 x 400 relay. For races like that, I get to be the spectator at my own game. I scream and yell because I figure the louder I am, the faster she’ll go.

I tried that with other sports. I stood up during the last two minutes of the basketball game and cheered like a diehard fan as Kean slunked off the court.

I shrieked what few wrestling moves I know at the two sweaty guys on the mat who didn’t listen and were probably better off for it. I learned what a decent time is for the 100-meter freestyle.

The winter season is winding down. The snow will melt and pretty soon baseball, softball and lacrosse will be moving out of the gym and into the field. Take an hour out of your day and watch them play. Get a head start on your tan. Bring a friend. Check out that hottie playing first base. Scream and yell like it’ll actually make them run faster, win the race and lead the team to victory. Because it might.


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