The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

SMITH: Vandy students need to show up for their athletes

Increased attendance can help better our team, boost spirit and provide a social outlet.
Emily Gonçalves
Vanderbilt fans contrasting with Georgia fans in their 2019 matchup. (Hustler Multimedia/Emily Gonçalves)

Being a freshman at a D1 school, I have to say I expected a little more spirit in the stands. Our student football game attendance has been abysmal, and it definitely has to change. From a quick scan of the crowd on Saturday, Sept. 28, it seemed like we finally outnumbered the opposing team’s fans at the home football game against Northern Illinois, although the stands were still pretty bare overall. Granted, it was a game against a school from approximately 540 miles away that expected a loss, so it makes sense that their fans didn’t show. Nonetheless, it was a win for us because we outnumbered their fans and beat the other team, which is definitely more than we can say for any other game thus far.

It took us long enough. After the previous home game against Louisiana State University on Sept. 21, the Tennessean wrote an article commenting on our game attendance. They said that the ratio between fans from both teams at the LSU game was worse than it had been in past years, but they admitted that we aren’t to be blamed for not attending. We knew it wasn’t going to be a close game, so many people didn’t show up.

However, just because we had anticipated a loss doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have been there to support our team. Many potential recruits attend home games. If they don’t see the stands full of enthusiastic student fans, they won’t be encouraged to join the team, especially if they attend a game where our fans are outnumbered some 4 to 1, like at the LSU game.

If we want our team to improve, we need solid recruits, and a good way for the student body to influence recruitment would be to show up to the games with as much energy as possible.

As for the LSU game, we expected a loss, true, but it is possible that we could have helped decrease the gap between our score and that of UGA or LSU by showing up to support the team. In a study on Major League Baseball game attendance, researchers Erin Smith and Jon Groetzinger said that increased attendance by home team fans increased the likelihood of a win for the home team significantly. If more of us had attended the LSU and UGA games, it is possible that our scores could have been a little bit more similar to those of our opponents’.

Since the score gap isn’t as important to some fans, we should also consider school spirit. We can still be wildly enthusiastic, energetic and outgoing without high hopes for a win — even if we know it’s a stretch. Everyone knows Vandy students work hard and play hard, and after a long week of constant work, a little bit of play is much needed. What better way to take a break than to spend the morning supporting our very own football team? As reported by Medical Daily, attending sporting events increases a sense of unity and community because those watching the sport picture themselves as the athletes to an extent. An even greater sense of community and spirit is just within reach if we increase our game attendance.

Head coach Derek Mason knows it too. “This city’s hot, this school’s hot, and this football team’s got a chance to light the fire and make it hot, so let’s get it hot,” he said in a Hustler Sports 30 podcast. Let’s listen to him and get our stands as hot as possible. Seeing the stands packed, decked out in black and gold, bodies painted and those floppy “pom-pom” things in the air, would be amazing, and honestly, it would be fun to do too.

 I get that it isn’t always fun to watch your team lose. But, we can give back to our team, increase the quality of recruits and build a sense of community with other Commodore fans all while having fun. I hope to see our stands dripping in black and gold spirit at our next home game against University of Nevada Las Vegas on Saturday, as well as the others against  Missouri, Kentucky and East Tennessee. And who knows, we might even win again.

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About the Contributors
Nora Smith, Former Editorial Director
Nora Smith ('23) is majoring in Special Education and English and minoring in French. When she’s not writing, Nora loves hanging with friends, exploring (and eating) everything Nashville and finding dogs to pet. On sunny days, she can also be found running or reading in her hammock next to a friend. She can be reached at [email protected].
Emily Gonçalves, Former Multimedia Director
Emily Gonçalves (‘20) was the Multimedia Director of the Vanderbilt Hustler. She majored in Mathematics and Economics and minored in Latin American Studies. When she’s not taking photos, you can catch this Jersey girl making puns, singing, advocating for girls’ education and drinking lots of chocolate milk and espresso!

Comments (4)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
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4 years ago

Bold stance, even bolder tone. If sports culture was an important part of *your* ideal college you should have researched the schools better. It is long established that Vanderbilt students don’t attend many games. (I am a senior who has attended exactly zero.) Vanderbilt undergrads work exceptionally hard and are usually juggling impressive workloads, volunteering/clubs, and social events. Most of us don’t have 3-4 hours to waste in the stands watching our generally unimpressive football team. I would rather spend that time at a party or doing work or getting brunch. Sure I can do all of those things after the game, but why bother, the game is not entertaining. Most vanderbilt students do not care terribly about sports, and even less about our teams. We are here for a great education, amazing clubs and social communities, and a dozen other reasons; I sincerely doubt sports makes the list. If you wanted a school that showed up en mass every saturday, you chose poorly, but that is not on us. You can’t force a culture, students who truly cared about college football culture don’t come here, your call is falling on deaf ears. If you asked me, we should just eliminate the football team and put the money to use in clubs or academic programs where the most students can benefit.

4 years ago

Great article, thanks for writing this.

4 years ago
Mr. C
4 years ago

dont tell me what to do