May 27, 2008

2007-2008: A Year In Review

Every sign from this past year. Some used, some not.

This was definitely a year of high expectations. How could they not be? I think because of these increased expectations, I set myself up for disappointment. I really was expecting the men's basketball team to win the conference, like everyone had predicted. I really expected the men's hockey team to make it to the NCAA tournament. I really expected the women's lacrosse team to make a run all the way to Towson for the Final Four.

None of these things happen, which is all kind of disappointing.

But it was wrong of me to think all of these things could be achieved. This school isn't UCLA; there isn't a legacy of amazing sports across the board year after year. There certainly isn't the same type of fan support that a school like UCLA has. But then again, with only 4 national titles, the most recent coming 13 years ago, I shouldn't really expect huge student support.

So let me address what Jesus and I have tried to do, really, since we got to BU. The student support for every athletic except for hockey is simply not there. In order to get people to go to basketball games it takes free giveaways and the promise of hockey tickets for the Beanpot or BC games. Students shouldn't have to be bribed to go sports, but that is the way it is at BU. There's no getting around it.

I'm preaching the reasons people don't attend that have already been made clear - it's a city school with a history of only one promising sport. I have tried all I can to try to have students branch out from that one sport because 1. there are more exciting sports to watch than hockey 2. the hockey team is the least personal and social of any team on campus.

It's not hard getting students to attend one game. It's near impossible to keep them coming back.

I met a lot of good people this year. A lot of people I never would've met, that I'm really glad I did, simply because I dress up in a costume. I've also met and interacted with a lot of people I wish I hadn't. I've had some very good experiences and some very bad ones this past year. But I enjoyed the ride and the experience.

People ask me if I ever thought the popularity or notoriety would get to the point it's at. The answer is no, I never expected people to take to us like they have. I don't see what's so special. We dress up in costumes to try to freak the other team out a little, get them off their game, distract them. If I were playing any sport and I saw some nutjobs dressed as a hot dog and a Jesus I would be a little concerned and irritated. That's just what I've been trying to do.

I've learned that some people have begun to love what we do. I've learned that some people really hate not just what we do, but who we are. I'm not gonna change who I am or what I do, and I don't expect those who hate me to stop hating me - but we all (or some of those who hate me) support the same program, the same team, the same school. Why can't we just get along? However, if you're from BC I hate you too, so you're out of luck. BCers have annoyed me and disturbed me the most this season. Just when I think they can't get any worse, something else happens.

This brings me to another thing I've realized about college athletics - there is a common bond between everyone at the school. Some may like the Red Sox, others the Yankees, some of the Giants, or Dodgers, or Rays. Jesus and I - the Phillies, but no matter what professional baseball, football, basketball, hockey team each of us supports, we can all share the common bond of supporting the Boston University Terriers. I think everyone should fully indulge (or at least a little bit) in the BU sports community. That's just me though.

This year it's really turned into something else other than freaking out opponents - getting people to the games. Athletics has reached out to Jesus and I and asked for help. We're doing what we can, we are working hard - we distribute flyers, we spread the word, we're taking over the Dog Pound. But, it has to be a two way street. We want to do these things, we want to help the athletics of Boston University, but our full time jobs are as students. We have work, classes, homework, paper, and tests. We can't just work for athletics at anytime they need us for nothing. I commend the school for doing a great job organizing spots, hotel rooms and tickets for students (12) to go to the America East basketball tournament for free. There needs to be more of that, and I don't want to be working for free anymore.

Some various individuals from Athletics told me during the year that whatever I wanted to try to do, the administration would fully support me. If I wanted to go to any tournament, any away game, any event, the athletics department would fully support us and try to help us take care of whatever the cost would be.

Later that year, after athletics had told me this, I tried to get some type of support for Jesus and my trip to the Dance Team Nationals. No support. Nothing. Something to the extent of "we're not gonna pay for those guys to live it up in Florida, running around catching girls." Not a cent, not a penny, nothing. Instead Jesus and I literally emptied our bank accounts to support the girls. And I'll mention there was no running around or catching of girls.

There was only one bus trip for students for the hockey team for an away game; no bus trips for basketball games other than the few times students were able to hop into the empty seats of the band bus. That was basically it. When the women's soccer team played at BC during the NCAA tournament the school didn't get anything together. There wasn't any type of shuttle for field hockey home games at MIT.

If athletics really wants student support across the board they are going to need to start covering costs for students to go. I mean, I/my family does pay $50,000 a year to get a BU education...multiply that by however many kids go to BU. The Com Ave construction will be done soon, so where's all that money going to?

Most everybody in college doesn't say no to free things, especially if it's free sports. There needs to be more bus trips, also free. There needs to be more interaction with the athletic teams; that means the hockey team needs to stop walking around Com Ave with such huge egos and start acting a lot less reserved like the basketball team(s) are. I've only ever seen any of them either talking to each other or the women's lacrosse team. I can't help but feel a little...uneasy about that.

Agganis needs to do a better job with ticketing at neutral location events - they need to specify that at the Beanpot its General Admission seating, so when I show up at 5 pm for an 8 pm game, I don't get moved out of the seat I had been in for 3 hours. They need to get their sh*t together at events like Red Hot Hockey because there was a major disjunction of students, alumni, and Terrier supporters in general in the Garden.

Make everyone pay for hockey tickets, that's something that'll never change, but just keep the cost of all other sports for students at $0.00.

I'm not sure if any of the things I want and envision will every happen. I'm not even sure if they can. I would love to see the stands packed at basketball games. I'd love to see Nickerson full like it was that opening game of the 2007 season. There are potential for athletics here at BU; while it was a disappointing season for some of the biggest sports, BU still won 5 AEC titles (all in women's supports) and advanced to the NCAA tournament in a wide variety of men's and women's athletics.

I became of many of the other supports that I wasn't a fan of last year. I hope that next year I can attend many more athletics and support many more of the teams. I'm sure I disappointed some teams by not coming to their events. (see crew (I'm sorry, I did set an alarm for 7 am, but it just wasn't working on a Saturday)) But next year, I'll be more active, more busy, more supportive and a better fan.

This was a fun year though. It really was. I saw so much, met so many, and screamed so loud time and time again. I can only hope that in my remaining two years at this school I'll be able to enjoy myself as much as I have.

There is a promise for the future at BU. I just hope more students begin to enjoy the fun that are Terrier sports in coming years.

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