MARAIS JACON-DUFFY | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Homecoming is upon us. The traditions of Homecoming range from a cheerleading competition in Hinkle to a senior bar crawl at 6 a.m.
Another tradition: Students actually attend a football game.
While Homecoming games tend to draw a large crowd at every school, it’s usually due to alumni coming back. Not the students, who may have never attended a Butler football game previously, actually showing up at a game.
I attended Butler football’s home opener this past Saturday. I was impressed by the turnout–—the stands were nearly full. I sat nearby football alumnus Trae Heeter, a former star running back.
“This is a good turnout for a Butler game,” he said.
The stands were mostly filled with parents and families, Heeter said. I agreed. Some students were present, a handful scattered along the stands and some sitting on the lawn.
I think the student turnout at Butler football games is embarrassing. Our opponent Saturday night, Taylor University, had a large number of students present, clad in purple, cheering on their team.
Butler, on the other hand, had some students present, mostly socializing. But nearly all students left the game for good during the weather delay, if not before.
There are, undoubtedly, football fans at Butler. Bears fans. Bengals fans. Wolverine fans. Sooners and Trojans and Ducks fans.
So why aren’t there many Bulldog fans at Butler?
Our football team isn’t bad. Actually, they’re pretty darn good. They are the reigning Pioneer Football League champions. They’ve been the reigning champs for the past two years. Butler football alumnus Hunter Grant signed with the Cincinnati Bengals just two years ago. Jeremy Stephens, a 2014 grad, currently plays football abroad.
So why don’t we care?
Football games are free for students to attend with a flash of a student ID. They’re on Saturday afternoons and some Saturday evenings. On any given Saturday, hoards of students can be found in Starbucks, eating lunch in Broad Ripple or, ironically, watching college football on tv.
Maybe instead of watching a game in the Ross Hall lounge or an off-campus house, students could walk over to the bowl to cheer on their team in person.
The team takes notice of attendance at games, or a lack thereof..
“I think the attendance at Butler games is mostly parents and family,” junior offensive lineman Mike Biegalski said. “It doesn’t seem like many students regularly attend games. Attendance seems to have increased slightly over the last few years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean student attendance has increased much.”
Junior offensive lineman David Tiwari said the Homecoming game’s attendance, in particular, motivates him to play better.
“Walking into the stadium on Homecoming when the parking lot is full of people tailgating is just awesome,” he said. “We appreciate any student support we get. It feels good when students tell you they had fun at the game.”
Having a strong student turnout at the games really does make a difference to the team. It boosts team morale and, in turn, makes the team play better.
“While we don’t just play for the fans, but because we love the game, games seem a lot more lively when a lot of people are there,” Biegalski said.
“A large crowd always gets everyone even more excited to play,” Tiwari said.
So, this weekend, go to Homecoming. Enjoy the game and take part in tradition.
But don’t let that be the last time you support your team. Follow their progress and celebrate their success. The Bulldog’s three-peat in the PFL will be that much sweeter with the whole school behind them.