One final plea
Why more UVM students should care about sports
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 20:10
I am being completely honest when I say I love this university. I am more than a quarter of the way done with my senior year and I emphatically believe that UVM has provided me with an incredible college experience on both the educational and social level.
That being said, there are two things that I would change in a heartbeat, things that get under my skin on an almost daily basis, one of which is the food distribution at UVM. Sodexo, your food sucks.
Other than the food issue, however, my biggest gripe with UVM is the inexcusable lack of sports culture.
I have written on this subject before, but it seems necessary to call attention to a problem that consistently goes by the wayside in the UVM community.
As Cynic columnist Jacob Lumbra wrote two weeks ago, “At most colleges, drunken parades and revelries of pride typically support athletics. This last homecoming weekend would have been a pivotal opportunity to display such enthusiasm, but, alas, this passion for athletics proved barren.”
Sadly I have no choice but to agree with Mr. Lumbra. The sports culture at our school is pathetic and should be offensive to the athletes that represent our university.
The basketball games are dominated by local Burlington residents, not students, and student hockey attendance usually fizzles out by the end of the season.
Perhaps even more egregious is the fact that our women’s sports teams get little to no attention from the student body, and sports other than basketball or hockey get a similar lack of recognition and support.
It is obvious that we – as a student body – do not care about sports. It is my responsibility in less than 300 words to convince you that we should.
Some of the best memories I have of UVM have involved the athletics program.
I remember my first hockey game as a surreal experience that opened my eyes to what a Division I collegiate athletic event is like.
I remember Marqus Blakely throwing down vicious jams on the rest of the conference as the men’s basketball team reached the NCAA tournament my first-year.
I remember Evan Fjeld’s mustache and his emotional performance after the passing of his mother.
I remember being at last year’s America East Conference Championship in Stony Brook as our men’s basketball team upset Stony Brook and the student section rushed the court live on ESPN.
And I remember covering nearly every sports team as a member of the Cynic.
These are all memories that will fuel my nostalgia for this university more than anything else. But to you – especially to the apathetic and casual bystander who hasn’t been to a single sporting event in your four years – these memories likely mean nothing and will fail to move you to act.
So instead I will simply say that going to a hockey game on a Friday night is the best thing you can do between the hours of 7 to 10 p.m — you owe it to yourself to at least try it.
There is something about coming together and supporting a mutual cause as a community that is only present at a sporting event. I assure you that if you come to a hockey or basketball game this winter, you will not only enjoy yourself – you will be back again in the future.
Some people are of the view that because our sports culture is so abysmal, the University should not spend millions of dollars on a new athletic facility. But I believe that if we want to continue to grow UVM as a prestigious public university, we have to make our athletic facilities – at the very least – passable. By committing to build a state-of-the-art arena for our two most popular sports, UVM has set itself up to become a premier athletic institution over the next several decades and this can only help the University at large.
But as students, there is a responsibility that is attached to the construction of the new arena: We need to develop a sports culture that matches the quality of our sports teams and the building they play in. It is a challenge that will be difficult, but one that seems entirely possible.
Consider the alternative: How tragic would it be if when the day comes to open up UVM’s gleaming new athletic facility, the student body is nowhere to be found?