Imagine a Division I sports game. No matter the weather conditions, the bleachers are packed with a multitude of enthusiastic fans in their school’s colors. These diehard fans get rowdy purely from the sheer thrill of seeing their beloved school’s team regardless of a winning or losing streak.
Now imagine a Kalamazoo College sporting event. K Cheer Captain Megan Loyer K’17 offered a normal game-day bleacher scene, “I look up and see the same group of students and a few parents,” she said. “It’s disappointing to cheer to an inactive and small crowd.”
Ultimate Frisbee player Spencer Freeman (K’16) transferred this fall from Michigan State University and noted the distinct difference in the two schools’ spectator culture. “A sporting event like football in East Lansing is a full day affair,” Freeman said. “The excitement starts as the sun comes up.”
He continued, “at K the stands aren’t as packed and not everyone knows about the games. I would say that [K] students are more enthusiastic about their school than MSU students, but the K sporting events don’t necessarily reflect it.”
The common perception is that K students don’t go to games because the sports teams are not as good as Division I, but Freeman offered a different perspective. “Regardless of a winning or losing record at MSU, the student section is full. I think seeing more K students at games would be a great way to enrich our community here in a very fun way because everyone would be there with one common goal: to cheer on our Hornets.”
K is no Division I school that can entertain 40,000 people, but Division III athletics offers its own spectatorship. The smaller community at K allows personal bonds with each of our student athletes, and students are bound to know at least one athlete at a given game. Football player, Andre Grayson (K’18) said student attendance and pride in K sports is important. “When our school is behind us, it does nothing but help further motivate us as players.”
Sports teams here at K may not win every game, but then again, no team does. “It’d be great to cheer with an official student section,” said the K Cheer Captain Megan Loyer. “It’d be a positive way for everyone at K to enjoy something together and have pride in our school and its sports.”