Roughly 40 percent of Occidental students compete in some form of athletics in a given school year. A large percentage of them are members of highly competitive NCAA Division-III varsity teams. But if one was to ask a random student walking across the quad whether or not they had recently attended a particular sporting event, the answer would most likely be no.
Currently, the women’s lacrosse program sits on top of the SCIAC standings and has garnered multiple national top 25 votes from the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA). Women’s water polo currently ranks No. 6 in all of Division-III. Yet, attendance from the general student body at one of their games can drop all the way into the single digits.
The average student who is not personally invested in a sport did not choose to attend Occidental because of an ingrained allegiance to a team or a passion for big-time college athletics. While students at UCLA or USC may have made their college decision in order to cheer for childhood sports heroes or fill the bleachers at legendary venues, students come to Occidental almost exclusively for the academics.
However, the fact that we do not have a Division I program does not mean that the student-athletes are any less dedicated or passionate about their craft. Between morning lifting sessions — which can can start as early as 5 a.m. — and competitions that can take up entire weekends, Tiger athletes put in an incredible amount of time and effort. They put in all the difficult work without an athletic scholarship, showing that they play for the pure love of the sport.
This commitment and enthusiasm on the part of the student-athletes should translate into much higher levels of support from the rest of the student population.
Just like competing for a team, attending a sporting event is one of the few activities that can bring people from all walks of life together and unite them behind a singular cause. Instead of complaining about being stuck in an environment with a dearth of social activities, students could attend the myriad of sporting events that are available throughout the week. If everyone attended a soccer or basketball game, it would be entertaining, plain and simple.
This editorial represents the collective opinion of The Occidental Weekly Editorial Board. Each week, the editorial board will publish its viewpoint on a matter relevant to the Occidental community.