COLUMN: Topeka lacks Ichabod spirit

Regina Budden

Walking into Henry T’s, or any other sports bar in Topeka, is an interesting experience for anyone associated with Washburn. Jayhawks and Wildcats festoon the walls, but the Ichabod (if there is one) is generally a tiny blue figure walking passively amid the growls and squawks of his larger mascot brethren.

I’m not being down on people having interests in teams other than Washburn. I mean, I grew up in a Wildcat-dominated household. However, all of Lawrence touts University of Kansas gear. Manhattan is practically dripping purple. Why can’t Washburn have Topeka? Granted the school is not large enough to warrant being in a “college town,” but most of the people I work and go to class with are either from Topeka or the surrounding area, so obviously Topeka has some sort of a vested interest in our school.

From local entertainment to football games, it’s nearly insulting that Washburn events have low attendance—especially since they’re free for students. Perhaps we should start charging the outrageous ticket prices of K-State and KU, and then we’ll get the insane amount of student participation. OK, just kidding, but it’s thoroughly depressing to see students sitting in the library watching YouTube videos on game day.

The Bod Squad is trying to get together an established repertoire of chants, cheers and other traditions to incorporate into the lineup. Some people complain that Washburn’s pep club can’t catch up to routines like the Wabash, but pause for a moment to consider the rumors surrounding the start of our little group. As it was told to me, once an Ichabod fan was kicked out of a bar in Emporia for wearing a shirt that said “Huck the Fornets.” The next day the bar burned down, and thus began the Bod Squad.

Sorry Wildcats, but nothing can beat those beginnings. And while everyone may scratch their heads at what exactly it means to be an Ichabod, the image of the Bod Squad as these growling muscle-y sports supporters is permanently etched in my brain as the definition of B.A.

And then there are our teams. Sure, football and soccer have had a rocky start, but our volleyball team always has teeth. Yet even their home games are ill-attended. I’m from a small town, and everyone went to the sports games, whether to smoke behind the bleachers or holler in the stands. Here, though, even though I would warrant all of us have had a class with at least one athlete, we never watch their games. It’s sad that, at the larger colleges, many students can’t go to the games because of the costs, but here at Washburn every student could go, but they won’t.

In fairness, it may be simpler to be part of the unenthusiastic crowd. That way, our sports department gets to avoid the enormous ticket-selling scandals that KU has had to deal with recently. And we also don’t have to make small talk about the games no one attended. However, it makes it awkward when you have classes with multiple athletes and they talk about their games and you have no idea what they’re discussing.

I’m probably preaching to the choir since this column is running in the sports section, but next time someone (especially someone from Topeka) complains that there is nothing to do here, smack them over the head and hand them a sports schedule. Something about huddling together in a football stadium, or screaming your face blue at that perfect spike builds camaraderie (Side note: I got a really fun date out of someone I met at a football game. Just saying.) With game attendance costing you an entire zero dollars, it makes an inexpensive and fun date.