From Knights to Scarlet Mourners

By: Deondre Smalls

Whether it’s the fall football games where the weather is becoming lower and the energy is rising or the winter basketball games where the warmth of cheers and the atmosphere in the arena is heated enough to make you forget about the cold that awaits you outside… the aura of sports has always been one of entice.

Photo by Ben Solomon during Homecoming Game against Kansas.

 

The state of fandom at Rutgers University is in a more questionable state than ever before. It is not necessarily the detriment of Rutgers athletics that has led to this decline in said “school spirit” but it to be believed that this decrease can be attributed to the lack of interest on behalf of the student body.

Where has this sensation gone? It seems as if the beauty of the sport is overlooked by the desire to be enveloped in the atmosphere that the event presents. The partying, and the day-drinking are all that seems to interest students. Granted, Rutgers athletics has not been the best in past years and it is possible that the decline in support by students is due to this. In fact, the sad truth is that a great percentage of the students who attend games do not stay past halftime.

There have been countless amounts of times where the stadiums and arenas for various Rutgers teams have been empty to a point where there were more opposing fans than Rutgers fans. The homecoming game in 2014 was a horrid example of this. It was Saturday, November 1, 2014, rain was hitting the field at extensive rates and at halftime the Rutgers Scarlet Knights football team was losing badly to the Wisconsin Badgers. The student section was deserted and the only fans that could be seen cheering for the Scarlet Knights were older fans whose love for the team, and school, has remained strong for years on out.

Courtesy of Scarletknights.com
Courtesy of Scarletknights.com

Not all of Rutgers’ sports are on the decline. Just this year, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights men’s and women’s soccer teams made it to not only the Big Ten Conference Tournament but they also made it to the NCAA Tournament. Although the men’s soccer team suffered a loss in the second round of the tournament at the hands of the Akron Zips, who are ranked number 4 in the NCAA Tournament, the Scarlet Knights recorded a record of 12-6-1 in the regular season and tied for third place in Big Ten Conference standings.

Photo courtesy of Scarletknights.com. Women's Soccer team against Penn State on October 18th.
Photo courtesy of Scarletknights.com. Women’s Soccer team against Penn State on October 18th.

The Rutgers women’s soccer team has remained among the elite in the nation throughout the entire season. The Scarlet Knights hold a 19-3-2 overall record and are headed to play the Virginia Cavaliers in the 3rd round of the NCAA Tournament and they may possibly have one of the best athletes to ever play a sport for Rutgers, sophomore sensation Casey Murphy.

So, where is the state of fandom at Rutgers University headed? That is up to us, the student body, to decide. We must understand that we create the atmosphere in the arena and in the stadium. These are not just professional players, who we have no connection with, on the field or the court… these are our peers. College is a once in a lifetime experience and we must keep the tradition of Rutgers athletics alive. Remember what University won the first football game ever against Princeton University, with a score of 7-6. Remember that the next time you are sitting at home while the women’s soccer team is on the verge of winning the NCAA Tournament.

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