And The Crowd Goes Home?
Ever go to a sporting event late, only to have to weave through rows of people, disturbing families and deranged fans alike to get to your seats? It's a lot like that at Santa Monica College, except instead of deranged fans, we have crickets, tumbleweeds, and the occasional snack wrapper block you from your viewing pleasure.
Having covered many different events for the Corsair, the one common factor amongst all community college sports here at Santa Monica is a lack of outside enthusiasm. Perhaps it's the fact that we're a commuter campus, or maybe that our facilities appear too old and decrepit to attract the allure that some other high-profile athletic programs have. The Rams and Raiders, both former Los Angeles football teams, both left the city because the facilities refused to update to the demands NFL teams need.
How impossible is it to say that the fans haven't arrived because fans don't wish to sit in ancient bleachers? How impossible is it to say that the fans haven't arrived because they don't wish to journey off campus to Reed Park to watch tennis, or to trek to the Santa Monica Airport to watch soccer in years prior?
Even if the facilities are to blame, blaming poor fan accommodations can only work as an excuse for so long. After all, USC plays in the same stadium that the Rams and Raiders both "escaped" from, so the student body carries as much blame as anything. Having spirit for where you came from is important for any school, and SMC is no exception.
Whenever I venture out to the gym, or go out to play pickup basketball, I wear my SMC athletic shorts. Drawing the ribbing of my friends who go to four-year universities, I support an athletics program that...well, reflects my devotion to it as well as the apparent devotion of the SMC student body. The mantra of "Go Corsairs!...I Guess..." should adorn every piece of athletic wear in the SMC student store.
Sadly, I can't hide from my faults. I myself am a living, breathing hypocrite. If I didn't write about the games I watch, I probably wouldn't be there. Commuting is a big issue for me, as it probably is for many, but there needs to be an effort to rally the student body behind Corsair athletics. A campaign detailing the pride of Corsair athletics would lead to the rebirth of the importance of sports on campus, unlike promotions like "Crazy Hat Night" that have floundered in the past.
Writers who have covered SMC sports in the past have noticed not only empty seats, but seats filled more by the opposing teams fans than our own. How can we expect greatness out of our athletes when every game is an away game for them?
Looking at a pro perspective, no one goes to Clipper games because they are perennial losers. However, everyone goes to Lakers games because they are quite the opposite, reaching the playoffs annually. This said, a tradition in winning needs to not only be established, but known throughout the student body and learned. Corsair athletics must be respected, and the first thought to go through any SMC student shouldn't be "Wait...we have a trophy case?"
Because we do. Look for it. It's full.