By Mike McCann
Imagine that the morning of the game is upon you. You wake up, make breakfast or go to the cafeteria, go to class if you have it, head to the field or gym and mentally prepare yourself for the athletic contest about to take place.
This is a routine athletes at all levels of the NCAA go through, not just those at Kalamazoo College. Now there are certainly many differences between the different divisions of NCAA athletics. One glaring difference, particularly at Kalamazoo, is attendance, or perhaps better put, the lack thereof.
Kalamazoo athletes have a tremendous opportunity when they start their college athletic careers. They have the privilege of receiving a top-notch education while continuing to play sports, often with their best friends and fellow athletes in the stands alongside them watching and cheering. But therein lies the problem: it is mainly best friends and other athletes in the crowd.
With the conclusion of March Madness, the nation got a prime opportunity to see just how passionate some schools’ students really are. Students, many of them non-athletes, have enormous pride for their teams. Anyone can turn on ESPN and watch the Izzone screaming at an MSU basketball game or see the Michigan student section going crazy for the Maize and Blue in the Big House on a Saturday. No one is pretending Kalamazoo is Michigan or Michigan State. They have just a few more students who can attend their games.
I don’t think there is an athlete on campus, however, who doesn’t love playing in front of a full crowd, with students–friends or not–getting into the game. That is something lacking at K for too long, no matter the sport. There simply are not enough students out there supporting the athletes.
It’s a question I have been asked before: where are all of the students at your games?
To all of you who are there regularly, or even just every so often, you have no idea how much your support means to the athletes. There is nothing worse than playing in an empty gym or in front of an empty set of bleachers. For those of you who don’t attend K sporting events, this is a challenge. Kalamazoo is an extremely difficult school, with a rigorous workload. But is it really too much to ask to go watch a basketball game for a couple hours on a Wednesday night or a football game on a Saturday afternoon?