Column: Please, stop shaming students for not going to games

The student section (illuminated by cell phones) was packed for the Huskies loss to Cincinnati on Saturday but apparently Twitter trolls didn't notice. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

So, the UConn men’s basketball team lost again on Saturday. It wasn’t particularly close, either—not scoring a single point for the first seven minutes of the game usually means winning isn’t in the cards. But the loss wasn’t the most annoying thing to me that day. It was the fact that on Twitter, I saw multiple people complaining about students not showing up to a marquee matchup against a top-10 team at Gampel.

I’m not going to name names, but with all due respect… who would actually pay money to see this team right now?

“But students should be supporting athletics all the time! It shouldn’t matter how good they are! Everyone is a Husky!”

Sure. So let’s start angrily tweeting about students not showing up to baseball games. Since they’re one of, if not, the best baseball programs in New England, people should be going to watch! The stadium is right on campus and they play lots of weekend afternoon games!

No? We don’t care about baseball? We only care about revenue sports like basketball and football? Oh, it’s not really about supporting all teams. Got it.

The student shaming is honestly something I can’t wrap my mind around. Sure, plenty of students choose a school based on its athletic prowess, but the reality is, that’s not the majority. Why blame the entire student population for not attending an optional event just because you personally would die for the program?

Oh, wait, it’s because they’re bandwagon fans, right? Only showing up when the team is good? How dare they!

…Who cares?

Why can’t people just tune into games when they’re fun to watch? Why is being a bandwagoner bad? Because you get bragging rights for sticking with a team no matter what? Students didn’t come to UConn to watch their team only make 36 percent of their shots. They came to study, to learn, to get a degree. Not everybody cares about sports. You shouldn’t expect them to—especially if those sports don’t perform well. Everyone complains on Twitter about the men’s team being “unwatchable.” Same with football. So where’s the issue? The product is unwatchable, ergo, people do not watch.

“But… the student section isn’t full to witness the men’s team score 21 points in 20 minutes!”

Right now, men’s basketball is not worth going to see. It doesn’t matter if they’re playing a top-10 team. It doesn’t matter if it’s Saturday at noon. It doesn’t matter if the game is on campus. Over the last three games, there has been no indication that the team could ever have a chance to upset Cincy, so why should students waste both their time and money to watch a guaranteed loss?

Maybe if they could score, more people would come. But tickets cost money. Games take time. Games take effort. Because remember, people shame students when they do chants when the team is losing or barely winning. It seems students can’t do anything right—if they don’t show up, they’re bandwagoners. If they do show up and aren’t loud, they shouldn’t even be there if they don’t proudly support the team. If they show up and ARE loud, they’re out of touch because they’re taunting a bad team UConn is only beating by three.

Students don’t owe the program anything. They shouldn’t be expected to drop literally all the other things they could be doing to watch the team lose—again. We have exams. We have sleep to catch up on. We have laundry, chores, work. How about instead of tweeting from your couch mocking a bunch of college students, you just go about watching the game and angrily tweet about Kevin Ollie instead?

Sometimes, as diehard sports fans, it’s hard to grasp that a lot of people don’t think the same way. Before I came to UConn, I did this thing called Husky for a Day, where you basically follow a student around for a day to their classes and such to see what student life is like. The person showing me around had never once been to a basketball game, and that absolutely shocked me, considering the team won the championship in 2011, would go on to win in 2014 and was actually good. But it just proves that not every student cares about sports the way we do as diehard fans, and it’s unfair for us to shove those expectations onto them.

The fact that students aren’t showing up is indicative of the quality of the product, not because the stadium is in East Hartford. People would go if the games were worth watching. Right now, they’re not.

So please, spare yourself from looking like a typical arrogant sports fan and stop claiming people are lesser for not showing up to games. People will come once there’s something worth going to.


Stephanie Sheehan is the managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at stephanie.sheehan@uconn.edu. She tweets @steph_sheehan.