In American culture, sports serve as a unifying force in communities. Our cities bleed the colors of their hometown teams. On college campuses though, sports represent something more. Something deeper. Collegiate athletics are a rallying force for students, alumni, faculty and fans hailing from or living in the community surrounding the countless universities across the country, West Chester being one of them. Here nestled in Chester County in the shadow of Philadelphia, it is evident that here, sports play a vital role in the communal bonding of its inhabitants. The West Chester University community has illustrated its love and loyalty to their warriors adorned in purple and gold, especially in recent years.
Hollinger Field House hosted the PSAC men’s basketball final four for the first time in school history in the spring of 2006. Farrell Stadium was filled to the brim a few times this fall as the Golden Rams football team marched to its second PSAC East division championship since 2004, and Hollinger was a buzz during an exciting women’s volleyball season whose crowds mirrored those gathered to support a Lady Rams basketball team that appears to be poised for greatness. The support is there.
However, from all of us, the students, the faculty and most importantly the administration all need to improve the way we support our teams.
Make an effort to transform the athletic program at West Chester University, a school boasting the most intercollegiate and club sports of any institution in the nation, from a pleasant diversion from classes, into something that we all can be proud of, into that defining aspect of this proud academic institution.
During all of the excitement and positive momentum surrounding our teams this past semester, there were indeed issues that were brought to our attention that we simply cannot sit idly by and let pass without at least mentioning them here for public record.
Firstly, while this campus was surely buzzing during the playoff runs made by the football and women’s soccer teams, the students at large appeared to be ambivalent at best during the successful regular season campaigns that created lasting memories, momentous victories, historic events, some of which fell on blind eyes and deaf ears of the empty bleachers at Farrell Stadium, the South Campus Soccer Field. These teams deserve your support. You owe it to the athletes representing this school in the most positive of ways, to make your way to their games. You owe it to yourself to cheer until your heart’s content.
You might be surprised how invigorating an experience you’ll have in the middle of the week, just by spending two hours with your closest friends in the friendly confines of Hollinger Field House this basketball season. We put it to you, to represent your school in a way that mirrors your athletes. Lets make the rest of the PSAC stand up and take notice of the passionate fans that West Chester University has to offer!
Secondly, the powers that be at this University could go a long way towards ensuring more vital and passionate student support of the Golden Rams. Credit the administration for making an effort on two occasions this fall, during the California and IUP football games at Farrell Stadium. During those monumental football showdowns when gold West Chester “Gold Out 2007” shirts were designed for students sitting in the student section. However, it is downright despicable that the designers of these t-shirts, and even more so the departments holding much larger budgets, had the gall to charge students to purchase these t-shirts. It is no surprise then that only a fraction of students in the stands actually were spotted wearing these shirts which should have served as a unifying piece of memorabilia for the student body. Thankfully at least one invaluable individual from SSI had the thought and sense to design and distribute rally towels on gameday during the playoffs to the students, for free.
Should the athletic department, SSI, SAC or any related campus group ever decide to hold another ‘Gold Out’ day during a football or basketball game, which is a wonderful idea, and a great way for everyone to get involved, the powers that be need look no further then Shippensburg, a University of similar stature to West Chester for the blueprint of how to pull off a great event. Shippensburg ‘Painted The Town Red’ this year, ironically against the Golden Rams on September 22. The Red Raiders hosted a massive tailgate party for alumni, held a parade and distributed a red ‘Paint The Town Red’ T-shirt to every student entering the stadium. For free.
Also The Quad has learned of football players being required to pay for their PSAC East Division Championship rings. We are at a loss for words to describe the absurdity of this report. Our only hope is that it proves to be false.
This is a great University, rich in academic, cultural, and athletic heritage. Do not take this as a commentary discrediting the contributions of countless individuals to the joy that is college athletics, rather as a plea to improve the experience here at West Chester. As the calendar turns to 2008, take a few moments to consider some of the suggestions that lay before you here, and go catch a Basketball game with friends on a Wednesday night. Maybe check out a swim meet or indoor track and field competition.
You’ll be happy you did.