“A nice home base with some games selling out…but if that’s the case, where’s the turnout?”
By Michael T. Lyle, Jr.
February 4, 2006
So a long week of dedication to the new TD Banknorth SportsCenter has ended, and all four teams competing in the new venue did not disappoint in showcasing the facility to the greater New Haven community. With all the hoopla leading up to Center’s opening and the potential impact it could have had on the team’s coaches and players, the building’s new occupants went a combined 6-3-2 during the stretch. To say the least, that’s pretty impressive.
In fact, some of those squads are actually playing great ball and great hockey headed into the final month of regular-season play, and that could mean the state-of-the-art, $52 million complex will stay opening a little longer next month for postseason purposes. But there’s just one question that needs to be asked to half the student body at Quinnipiac
University in the midst of this fun and exciting sports season (and excuse me as I partially borrow a quote from the ESPN NBA promo).
Will you be there to watch it?
Having covered the last three men’s basketball contests in the building (and no, its not just the men’s games where I’ve witnessed what I’m about to say), I look around and I notice there’s a number of empty seats throughout the arena.
Empty. That’s right. They’re empty. Perhaps a few hundred of them, anyway.
A duo-facility that each seats over 3,000—3,500 to be exact—is not even pulling those types of numbers. Maybe the numbers will improve, maybe they won’t. Or maybe I’m just being too defensive.
Normally, things don’t bother me as much when comes to dealing with “everyday happens” in life. I’ll admit. I can put up with a lot. But it’s unfortunate that something like this has been bothering me for the last few days. For me to not say how disappointed I am to notice that the turn-out has been scarce from the student body would be foolish, especially considering how well the men’s team has pulled things together as of late and made a surprising run at the top-spot in the Northeast Conference.
What exactly is the excuse for the lack of support? Study time? Class time? Traveling out-of-town with friends and family? Workshops? Maybe we all have something better to do? Or maybe not all of us are big sports fanatics?
Forget the fact that the university and members of the alumni spent a ton of money into providing our Bobcats with a more suitable, comfortable place to compete in, and especially since the men’s hockey team is showing the rest of the nation it can play with the likes of Harvard, Princeton, Brown, etc.
Just recently, I had a conversation with Bobcat play-by-play talent Bill Schweizer, and he told me how shocked he was at the lack of turnout during “Dedication Week”. He proposed to his students in his sports journalism class that, despite students being turned away because of the so-called “Sold Out” status, especially for the hockey contest against Holy Cross, that they should simply show up to the arena and tell the box-office people that they want a ticket if there’s any vacancy. Talk about a showing of moral support!
Aside from men’s hockey, the other teams are that good, and its showing in the standings of their respectable conferences.
The purpose of this opinionated column (and please understand what I’m writing here) it’s just that—opinionated, is to not make any enemies here. I’m just trying to get a feel for why our students are not showing enough loyalty to the teams that give it their all each night they come to play, and they are, indeed, playing like their on a mission.
Sure, we may all have our opinions based on the way they play at times or given the history of their performance here at QU. But, as the TV promo you may have seen says, it’s “a new era of Bobcat athletics”.
The bottom line is that there’s a little over four weeks remaining in the regular season. If our team’s are going to make one final push at the postseason, then the time is now to get out and come to the games. See what you’ve been missing or what you don’t want to miss for the future. That’s why it’s called “home court” or “home-ice” advantage. Let our teams know that they have the support of their students when they have to fight, scratch and claw their way to a tough win (no pun intended).
They can’t do it alone, and with you being loyal, it’s going to make the other schools wish they don’t ever want to come do battle with our athletics. Put it this way: if the basketball and hockey teams make the playoffs and wound up hosting a first-round event, how is it going to look when the visiting schools don’t see a huge turnout from our fans? Mentally and right from the opening horn, the opposition has the momentum coming in.
So, I say unto you, the fans: if we believe that the Bobcats do live here, from here on out and for the sake of our team’s, and for this brand new gem that’s four years in the making….
….. let’s make our presence felt.