There were approximately 5,000 individuals present when the Utah Valley baseball team hosted the University of Utah back in May. At first glance, that seems like a good number, especially when it was the second largest crowd that Brent Brown Stadium has seen during a UVU game.
But consider the fact that we were playing our neighbors who have die-hard fans willing to travel to Orem from Salt Lake City. The number of UVU fans was still too small, and my plea is that more of our students attend athletic events.
Let me make one thing clear: I am not writing this with intent to shed negativity on our student body here at UVU. Something that is noteworthy, however, is the fact that we just don’t have die-hard fans.
That is understandable. Just yesterday, in fact, my philosophy teacher Ben Rankin discussed with the class that statistically, UVU students work more hours a week and have larger commitments outside of school than any other university in the state. UVU is a commuter school, and for a lot of students, that is what attracted them here in the first place.
UVU is also new to the sports world in comparison to our neighbors, BYU and Utah. Most of our student body grew up as Cougar fans and Ute fans, which was easy to do when the option of being a Wolverine fan didn’t exist.
Should this change the number of students that attend athletic events here on campus? Showing up and watching our student athletes can be both exiting and therapeutic. Being able to let loose and cheer for a few hours is the best break from homework I can think of.
Take my closest friend Shelby Larsen, for example. Her parents met at BYU, fell in love and graduated as Cougars. She naturally grew up a Cougar fan and still is to this day. BYU is in her blood, yet she’s pursuing her education at Utah State, where she loves going to their games. When October rolls around and Utah Valley’s volleyball team heads to Logan to play the Aggies, Larsen will be prepared to serve me trash talk in favor of her Aggies.
“I love the atmosphere,” Larsen said about Utah State home games. “It’s so fun.”
I should mention that in 2010, the Utah Valley women’s volleyball team crushed the Aggie’s 11-game winning streak. Victory came again last season when the Wolverines swept USU in a 3-0 match. The atmosphere is just as good here at UVU.
I have been to a lot of home games here, too many to keep track. Since attending several games, I feel like I belong to this school more than I ever would have had I not cheered for the Wolverines.
It’s not expensive to attend games, either. Any student can join the MAWL club for $15, which includes a t-shirt, lanyard and access to any official athletic event.
I’m not asking anyone to let go of their roots that are planted in another university that may have stemmed from childhood experiences. Even I attended BYU football games growing up. But this sense of belonging that I have is helping my academics and giving me a larger sense of purpose to be here at UVU. On top of that, it’s just simply fun. The sense of belonging that comes when we unite as a student body to cheer for a common purpose is something that can never be matched in our classrooms.