As assignments for a sports writing class I’m currently taking at Edinboro, I had to attend different sporting events and write stories for them. I attended a couple of men’s and women’s basketball games, but hardly anyone else did the same. I always just saw parents, siblings, community members and maybe a handful of students. It made me realize that as a student body, we should be doing more to support each other and show our school spirit.
As a final assignment for the same class, I chose to write something about this very issue. I chose to try and get a look into how the lack of support from students, staff and faculty at Edinboro sporting events takes a toll on coaches and players and figure out why people on campus were so quick to support Division I sports teams, but not their classmates, students and friends.
I spoke with women’s basketball head coach Stan Swank on the matter, and he believes that one factor may be the comfort of Edinboro dorms.
Swank also attributes the lack of support to the availability of the technology we have. We can sit in our rooms, check the scores and playby- play online and not even move an inch out of bed. Swank noted he recognizes it’s not just sports teams that don’t get much support, but most clubs on campus as well. He believes that students — his student athletes included — should be going to other campus events.
“I’d like to give them an excuse and say they have other things going on and they have a lot on their plate — which they do — but I think students could take advantage of a lot more outside of athletics,” said Swank.
When I spoke with men’s basketball coach Pat Cleary, he recalled a time when the school spirit at games was a force to be reckoned with.
“It was back around 2000/2001. We had a great atmosphere here at McComb [Fieldhouse],” said Cleary. “Students would get dressed up, sit across from the visiting teams’ bench and be crazy for 40 minutes. It was awesome.”
I asked 10 students if they attend any games or club events on campus and while seven of them believed it’s very important for students to attend those events, only three of them actually did on a regular basis. One of the students who didn’t think it was important even went as far as to say they would never attend nor consider attending any Edinboro sporting events. Of course, 10 students is a small sample, but it’s a start.
It’s not just the case with athletics.
Edinboro has over 150 active clubs and organizations on campus, some of which host oncampus events for students and barely anyone shows up. The University Programming Board, for example, plans and hosts movies, comedians, novelty events and more, but attendance rarely hits above 30 students unless free food is involved. If there isn’t a club or organization on campus that you’re interested in and you would like to start your own, find a group of friends with the same interest and propose the group to the student government association. There are so many ways we can all get together and make Edinboro a place that people want to celebrate and be proud of.
I attended a music event put on by a friend on campus before leaving Edinboro for spring break. Yes, I may have only attended because we were meeting up to go home. Looking around the room, I noticed there were a lot of parents and a few classmates and friends. I sat in the back on the floor — not even in a chair — playing Candy Crush and sending Snapchats to my friends about how bored I was. It wasn’t until after that I realized that while I was stuck in my “I really don’t want to be here” attitude, there were students in the room putting effort into putting on a production they truly cared about, and I should have been paying attention. I should have been there to support them instead of being there because I had to be there.
We students are constantly complaining about how much we are always bored and how there’s never anything going on, but when was the last time any of us checked the Pogue Restroom Report or read the email sent out by vice president for student affairs Dr. Kahan Sablo before deleting it? When was the last time we looked at the game schedule at gofightingscots.com? When was the last time we went out to support a friend or classmate and didn’t see it as an inconvenience rather than showing that we care?
“But I’d rather go to a party and drink than attend a school event.”
Guess what? We can do both! There are events that run late on campus but, just like us, those people in charge of them also want to go home and have free time to themselves or time to go out to dinner and be with friends.
We all need to do better to support our fellow Fighting Scots. Not just students, but faculty and staff as well. Go to a women’s lacrosse game or an art gallery once in a while. Ask your friends if their clubs are putting on any events that week. Go see the comedian in Scots Cinema. Turn on WFSE 88.9 in the car.
We all know how good it feels to look up from something we’re working on or look out into a crowd and see people we know who are there, people other than our parents. We know what it’s like to get a rush of adrenaline when we hear people rooting for us. We know how disappointing it is to put your best effort into a program or game or work of art just to have nobody show up to recognize that effort.
Let’s be better than that. Let’s start showing our school pride. Let’s bring school spirit back to Edinboro University.
— Kimberly Firestine
Our Viewpoint is voted on by the staff members of The Spectator.