Every year, literally millions of fans nationwide pile into crammed stadiums to watch football.
It doesn’t matter what level the game is played-little league, junior high, high school, college, semi pro or the NFL-people can’t get enough pigskin action. While it’s only natural that football, a game of big hits and even bigger egos, has a special place inside the average sportsfan’s heart each fall, there is one major sport that gets the brunt of neglect in its wake: volleyball.
This is no different at Washburn, where the stands (although by no means packed) are relatively full for football games, and relatively empty by comparison for volleyball games. It is disappointing in my mind that the Lady Blues don’t receive more fan support when you consider the constant success of the program.
While this column by no means belittles the great achievements of the football team this year-including an 82-21 trouncing of New Mexico Highlands that I think any Washburn fan should be proud of-I do think that a team such as Washburn volleyball should receive more acknowledgement than a headline in the newspaper.
My sociology teacher pointed out the other day that the Ichabods received front page headlines in the Topeka Capital-Journal after their first win, while the volleyball team, which is now 8-0 in tournament play and moved up from 10th in the nation to sixth, received a brief mention in the middle of the sports section.
While it is certain that men and women are still treated far from equal in the world of sports (consider the average NBA player is paid roughly 50 times more than the highest-paid WNBA player), supporting a university’s athletes shouldn’t be about gender or which sport is being played, it should be about an overall support of the athletic department. A fan should want every sports program at their university to do well and show strong support for those teams that do so.
I know we’ve all had the “school spirit” guilt trip forced on us about a thousand times, and it does get old. But the next time you see an athlete on campus, many of whom are not paid enough in scholarship money to cover their college expenses, try to imagine how you’d feel in their position.