I miss the electricity of the crowd. I miss the yelling. The banter. The passion.
I miss the camaraderie and school spirit shown by being there.
I love Denison, and I think we do a lot of things well, but if there’s one thing that I would change it is how we support each other in our extracurriculars.
This past week, the Denison women’s basketball team completed what was an outstanding season for them. It was amazing to watch how they improved from the beginning of the year to the end. For context, they lost to #19 Depauw by 50 in December, but took them all the way down to the wire in the North Coast Athletic Conference championship game.
Yet, when they hosted the opening round conference tournament game against Hiram, the stands were largely empty. Some students came down and supported, but not nearly enough for a postseason basketball game.
Now, I get it. We aren’t The University of Kentucky. We aren’t Duke. But we are Denison, and we have athletes and performers who work incredibly hard and are incredibly talented.
Look at our swimming and diving teams. The men are currently ranked number one in the country for Division III. The women number three. Each team is littered with uber-talented swimmers and divers who might just win National Championships, yet there were almost as many students from other schools as there were students from Denison when we hosted the NCAC Championships a few weeks back.
Look at our lacrosse teams. Both nationally recognized programs ranked and looking to make NCAA tournament runs. Yet, the stands were mostly filled with parents during their games this past weekend.
Our baseball team is coming off one of the best seasons in program history and are only getting better. They’ll open the year just outside of the top 25 in the “also receiving votes” section.
Football had the best season since the 1980s. They won the NCAC and made their first tournament appearance since 1986. Other than their Big Red Weekend game that went to four overtimes, the stands were filled with parents but not students.
It goes beyond the athletic fields. We have world-class performing arts centers and students and alumni winning awards for their performances in the arts. Steve Carrell and Jennifer Garner had to start somewhere, right? Maybe the next Hollywood superstar is walking the grounds as I type this.
The singer’s theatre program are great examples of that. They put on productions that emulate those done by professionals. They spend hours and days and weeks preparing, only to see the same few students in the crowd at all of their performances.
I’m not saying I’m perfect. I don’t get to as many games or performances as I’d like to, but thanks to my time with the Denison Sports Network I’ve had the opportunity to see our athletes put on incredible performances first hand. I’ve been to a few performances, but acknowledge I need to get out to see more of those.
Now, earlier I pointed out how we aren’t Kentucky and we aren’t Duke, but that’s part of what makes this situation so cool. All-Americans are sitting in your classes. Future Oscar-winners are in the dorm room next to you. We have the opportunity to see all of these talented and amazing students for free on our beautiful, little campus, yet we don’t take advantage of that.
Go out, watch a game, spot that dude in your econ class and appreciate how cool it is that these people manage their athletic lives with their academic lives with their social lives.
You won’t regret it.