As the air begins to chill, Sam Houston State University turns orange, not only with the colors of fall but also with Bearkat spirit. Fall is a magical time at SHSU. In fact, it is my favorite time of the year.
As many of you know, fall also means football games and Homecoming. You think about the Sam Jam Carnival, the Homecoming parade or the tailgate with all the past alumni returning to cheer on our Bearkats to victory. However, that would require you to actually go to a game. In case you did not know, we have a football team, and judging by our student section at games, many of you do not know that.
Sam Houston State University has more than 19,000 students enrolled and only about 700 students go to a game. That includes our cheerleaders, band and Orange Pride dancers. If I were to sum this up, I would say our Bearkat spirit is weak and unmotivated when it comes to athletic support.
I can say that because I am not an athlete, and this is from a completely outsider point of view. It seems that we all have Sam Houston State University in our Facebook bio, wear orange and call ourselves Bearkats, but we do not support a huge part of SHSU tradition.
You do not have to be a football fan to attend the game, but at least go and support your school. If our athletic programs had half the attendance at games as big schools, our overall morale would be unreal. I have a few things I would like to point out to you:
1. Our students only go to games when we are winning and they leave as soon as we start losing. Imagine how that feels to our team when they look up and see the student section leaving Bowers Stadium or better yet, when our student section is the same size as my 2A high school student sections. This is why I say, stop going to game and taking a selfie, and then leaving at half time and calling yourself a fan. STOP THE SELFIES AND START SUPPORTING!
2. We all seem to talk smack about how awful our football team is on social media, when most students probably cannot even name one player on our roster. It is so easy to talk on social media, but if you have not been to a game all season, you don’t have room to bash our players that are practicing daily and trying to stay motivated when their own school is not supporting them.
3. We expect our athletic programs to support our organizations, when we fail to support their programs. SHSU has more than 200 student organizations. If we brought all those together, imagine how packed our stadium would be. That is the great thing about sports. It does not matter if you are involved, where you came from or whom you hang out with, sports give us a platform to set aside our differences and come together as one. Think of the situation this way, above all, we are Bearkats. Without SHSU, we would not be who we are today.
4. Finally, you are paying for it, literally. Part of your fees goes to paying for your free entry to the games. Schools like LSU, A&M and UT have to get tickets in advance because everyone wants to go. I know you are probably thinking, “Well duh, their games are fun and their schools are huge…” Our games could be fun if we all go and create new traditions. However, it is up to us.
This weekend is Homecoming and it is one of the most important games of the season. The McNeese Cowboys come to our stadium Saturday at 3 p.m. Our football team will spend three hours battling McNeese, so we can spend three hours losing our voices in support of our Bearkats.
I think as Bearkats, it is our job to defend our home. This is our territory, and if there is not an empty seat in the house, imagine what that could do for our team’s confidence on the field. Our Bearkats are 3-9 against McNeese at Bowers Stadium, so I encourage you to partake in a tradition that is way bigger than any one of us.
After all, Homecoming is more than just a crown, tailgating or spirit activities. It is showing Bearkats of all generations that they left their beloved SHSU in good hands. I encourage you all to cheer on our athletic teams and show support, not only at Homecoming but also at every game. This can be the start of a new tradition at SHSU.
If we want our athletes to respect us, we as students need to respect them, both on and off the field. Good luck to all our Bearkat athletes this weekend, and shout out to the Kat Krazies, band, cheerleaders, Orange Pride Dance Team, twirlers, trainers and everyone else involved in supporting our Kats. You’re the real MVPs.