Attendance woes reach new lows

Why students should invest more in Queen’s teams

Sporadically low student attendance has hindered football at Richardson Stadium, painting a bleak picture for less-renowned Gaels sports.
Sporadically low student attendance has hindered football at Richardson Stadium, painting a bleak picture for less-renowned Gaels sports.

Our apathetic student body hinders athletics programs at Queen’s.

After last Saturday’s Homecoming football game, it may look like the student body cares, but don’t let ticket lines at the ARC fool you into thinking the attendance had anything to do with the sport.

If it wasn’t Homecoming, the student side at Richardson Stadium likely would have been nearly empty.

Last season, this was the case for the last two home football games. The first two were heavily attended, but only because the first was during Frosh Week and the second took place on Fauxcoming weekend.

Most fans left at halftime of the Frosh Week game, both this year and last.

In the past, Queen’s students cared enough about sports to compose a fight song to get over the sting of a loss. Now, we don’t care enough to see if the Gaels win.

Football is by far the most popular spectator sport at Queen’s. If it induces this level of student apathy, what chance do other teams have of getting students interested?

Take the hockey programs. While the men’s team has struggled in the past, the women’s program is one of the best in Canada. Both teams fail to generate much student interest in games, drawing less than 150 spectators at each — many of them non-students.

The hockey teams are definitely affected by the distance students must travel to attend games at the Memorial Centre, but even the basketball and volleyball teams, which play on campus, fail to get the same attendance at home games that other schools do.

If students are unwilling to attend games no matter where they are, why would Athletics even bother building an arena on campus?

The same idea applies to any plans regarding Richardson Stadium. There’s no purpose to a new stadium if one side of it is going to remain unoccupied for half the games played there, or if half the seats are empty after halftime.

Students simply don’t care about our teams, and therefore there’s no reason for the school to invest in them.

The sad thing about this apathy is that students should care about the athletic programs at Queen’s for reasons that have nothing to do with sports.

Our varsity teams play a crucial role in getting alumni to financially support the University. Football in particular is a money-making sport, with some alumni only donating to the football team.

Seeing students out at all the games would help bring in more alumni interest, and therefore more money, for the school.

Having crowds of students at games cheering on their fellow students strengthens school pride. Nowhere outside of university sports can fans have that same personal connection with athletes and, as students, that’s something we should cherish.

And, after all the work these athletes put in on a weekly basis, shouldn’t their classmates be willing to support them?

Obviously sports aren’t interesting to everybody and students who don’t like sports may not be attending games. If Queen’s Athletics took the initiative to educate students on the deep role that our sports programs have, and the impact supporting them can make, maybe the average student would be more willing to come out to games.

An important part of Queen’s heritage lies in our athletic programs. The players on our teams are incredibly talented and deserve better than the sight of empty stands.

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