Apathetic Student-Body Blights Progress

By Aaron Rispoli

Assistant Sports Editor

In my column a few weeks ago, I wrote about the “small-school mentality” at Canisius College and how it will forever stunt our athletic programs. In short, teams have been known to convey profound trepidation when they are scheduled to face a more prestigious institution.

Admittedly, our athletic prowess as a college does not usually exceed that of more prestigious institutions. Even our most successful teams, such as our baseball team—the defending MAAC Champions— are little more than sacrificial lambs when the NCAA tournament rolls around.

Athletics does not occur inside of a vessel, however. Even experiencing a modicum of success requires a litany of factors to go your way. The one constant that most programs do have, large and small schools, is a prodigious amount of fan support. Unfortunately, the stands at Demske remain desolate regardless of athletic prowess. This is a problem.

I suppose this has entered my mind recently upon my trip to Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. I only had to amble down to the dining hall to notice a discernible difference between Canisius College and Bucknell University.

Of the 83 individuals who sat in the dining hall, 35 of them were wearing Bucknell University gear. There was only one table of athletes. Thus, over a quarter of the Bucknell dining hall was filled with people donning university gear. Around the Canisius dining hall, you may find a freshman or two wearing their shirts from orientation and of course the athletes will be wearing their respective team gear. But I suspect that you would find even more Canisius students with an array of shirts from their favorite college sports teams, rather than the school they are actually attending.

There are anomalies, of course. Instances of school-wide fanfare such as the Monmouth versus Canisius basketball game when the Hawks had gained recognition for the theatric bench routine. Of course, the Niagara basketball games are also very popular. But I would be willing to contend that these instances of fanfare are more about seeing a spectacle or detesting the Niagara cheer section than actually supporting our athletic teams.

But sure—I suppose I applaud the student with one major and 3.0 grade-point average whose level of engagement in the campus comes in the form of being a faithful attendee at “quesadilla Tuesdays”. There is nothing atypical about that student. They are mere sheep in a field.

I’ll see you at the next men’s basketball game versus Niagara.



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