Turn on any college football game this time of year, and the first thing you may notice is the overall atmosphere of the stadium. The stands are full of screaming, cheering students and fans alike, who have taken time out of their day in order to come support the university’s athletes.

For most students at colleges across the country, the decision whether or not to attend a game is not a hard one, as most jump at the opportunity to see their fellow students in action. So what’s going wrong here at Fairfield?

Attendance at sporting events of any nature has been down this fall season, and I am struggling to find a reason why. The teams are not bad, as both the men’s and women’s cross country teams are having solid starts, and the girls’ volleyball team is off to a hot start in MAAC matches.

It can’t be the cost, as all the events have been free so far. There is no lack of knowledge of events, as the schedules for some of the teams are posted in the dorms, and a schedule of the day’s events is run on TVs in the BCC. And don’t even try to blame it on the weather.

A perfect case in point is the soccer games played right here on campus. The men’s team – which has been nationally ranked – played a very good game against the thirteenth ranked team in the country, Boston College, resulting in a tie.

But if you were to look at the stands, you might think it was just an intramural game. To be fair, at times this year the stands have been full and there has been energy in the crowd. However, once the machine to swipe for FYE credit comes out, 60-70 percent of the crowd leaves—even during a tie game heading for overtime.

True, it is not fair to compare Fairfield with schools we see on TV, like Notre Dame, at least on the athletic level—when Fairfield was graduating its first class, Notre Dame already had seven national championships in football. But the lack of spirit at athletic events is a little troubling nonetheless.

The Stags in the Stands group is doing its part to cheer on our athletes, who must feel somewhat abandoned by their classmates. In fact, outside of the athletes’ parents, the members of Stags in the Stands seem to be the only other spectators present at some events.

I suppose there is one excuse: the lack of a football team does hurt. Admittedly, it is easier to get pumped up and excited for a football game than a soccer game for most Americans, not to mention the joys of tailgating that go along with it.

Fairfield students are getting very excited for the men’s basketball team to begin their season in the quest of a MAAC championship, especially after last year’s great season. So perhaps after a few games at Alumni Hall, where the stands are full of our own screaming, cheering fans, we’ll forget about this lackluster start in school spirit.

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