Collegian: Show Some Love, Hillsdale.

Show some Charger love, Hillsdale
Nathan McClallen
Issue date: 10/30/08 Section: Opinion

In a 2003 Sports Illustrated on Campus review, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale was voted the worst college sports town in America. It wasn’t necessarily due to lack of success; more blame was placed on the large majority of students who would rather party than attend games. This nationally publicized embarrassment caused an immediate turnaround in school spirit. Last January, the SIU Salukis were the first mid-major basketball program to host ESPN College Gameday, an honor usually reserved for established basketball programs such as Kansas University or the University of North Carolina.

After being involved in the revolution at SIU, I see similarities in the lack of school spirit here at Hillsdale College. It’s easy to have low expectations since Hillsdale is widely known for its academics, but I’m not willing to settle for underachievement. If over 70 percent of the student body is involved in sports or Greek life in some way, then why is it that players on the sidelines often outnumber the entire “student section” on game days?

The apathy here may be a result of any number of things, but there is no reason it has to be the way it is. True, Hillsdale students may have a heavier workload than the average college student, but let’s not get carried away. When questioned about their absence, most students would reply that they were studying all day, or had to write a paper. There must be some way to free up those hours in the middle of Saturday afternoon. If you plan ahead and attend the game, the rest of your day will probably be more efficient. I am skeptical that someone’s entire day is consumed by intense scholastic endeavors.

Even if some Hillsdale students do homework from sun-up to sundown, a football game at 2:30 p.m. on a Saturday should be the perfect time for a much-needed break from studying. If you actually take advantage of your free ticket, you may learn to appreciate other aspects of the experience. Some are drawn to the appeal of taunting the opposing team’s scrawny punter; others may enjoy the antics of the pep band. At the last home game, one extracurricular display involved a group of students attempting over 200 push-ups (in increments of 7, 14, 21, etc., as the Chargers scored). While it’s amusing to see a skinny shirtless guy in front of a crowd, it’s even better to watch him realize that he cannot physically complete 49 push-ups.

It would be great to see a complete transformation of the approach the student body takes towards athletics, but that may not be a realistic short-term expectation. If nothing else, come support your football team on Senior Day this Saturday. Let’s see what it’s like to have a real crowd. Make signs, paint your face, just have fun. With or without your presence, senior Tom Korte will annihilate the opposition like Achilles on the battlefield.

But, you should still come and cheer him and the rest of the seniors on to victory.

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