By Andrew Zimmel
Runner Up in a “Nice Guy” Contest
If you’ve ever been to Strahan Coliseum, odds are you encountered both of these things: Terrible parking, heavy traffic to exit and enter Strahan, and a lack of attendance at all the sporting events. Whether you went during Fall, when the Volleyball team was beating conference teams left and right, going 9-3 at home. or in the Spring when the Men’s Basketball team played three home playoff games you noticed the lack of attendance. Long time fans and alums have all said a version of the same story. “Well Texas State is a Mid-Major school, and this is a commuter campus, and the teams have to compete against the San Marcos river that is less than 100 years away from the doors to the Coliseum. So that’s why fans aren’t coming to the games.” That excuse has gotten older and older has the year has gone on. Texas State is a Division 1 school, the largest ranking when it comes to athletics. Mid-Major or not, Texas State has played some of the better teams in college sports. I would remiss to say that this is a problem with Strahan, which is getting more additions for the 2018 season. No, this problem isn’t with facilities. In past years, the scapegoat could have been the teams that show up to play. However, this year, the only major program that will have a losing record will be Football, which is due for an upswing when you look at the talent they are putting together on the field for Spring Football. No, the players aren’t the issue. So how can we get college kids to come to these games? Well, I am glad you asked.
- Do More For The Students
If you went to Saturday match up between the St. Peter’s Peacocks and the Bobcats, you possibly could’ve notice the slack in fans. If you looked around the stadium, there were actually fewer people there than the less meaningful game on Wednesday against the University of Idaho. At least a hundred fewer people came on Saturday. The temperature at tip off was a crisp 84 degrees and the San Marcos river was packed with students and faculty members getting their tan on, but there weren’t 36 thousand people out there. If 2,907 people were at the game, there would only be roughly 8% of the student body, and that’s assuming that everyone at the game would be students (they weren’t).
At half time, the guy that was sitting next to me thought about getting up and leaving. The reason was of the lack of action. As the camera panned around a crowd of mostly older alums and their grandchildren to young to “Ju Ju on the beat,” spotting the occasional student willing to show their moves on camera, the atmosphere was stale. Maybe it was because the Bobcats had blow a 17 point lead, or because of the lack of the action, but a hero rose from the masses. A little kid was busting enough moves render some attention from the roaming camera. Then it happened. He began to dance well enough to get an applause from the crowd. This sparked an idea. If you had a promotion that during halftime there would be some sort of dance battle. Bring in Football players, alums, sponsors, children, literally anyone that would be willing to bust a move. Make teams even. Give us a game within the game. Just do SOMETHING to keep us entertained. When the game is going on the crowd is into it, but the minute the action stops, so does the fan support. The t-shirt toss is great, if you are sitting in the premier seats, but if you are sitting where most of the student fans are sitting, then the arms of the staff workers need some work in the off season. Get a t-shirt gun. Bite the bullet and invest in getting me a t-shirt as I sit in the upper level. I promise you, as fans, we will appreciate you.
2) Give Us More Access
At every other school in the nation, it seems like there is a story about how the star Quarterback sat behind someone in class and they were super cool, or how the starting Forward helped someone at H.E.B reach the top shelf for toilet paper. At Texas State, it seems like the papers are kept from the fans, and as fans, we get it. It’s only logical that an institution keep their employees out of PR nightmares, but I promise you that if regular students knew their star players favorite movie or who they listen to before the game, they would connect more. Texas State Women’s sports have figured that out. They had promotions all season for gift cards to Whataburger and other places with little games where fans compete against the athlete to name Harry Potter characters or chocolate bars. It gives the fans some insight to what the players are like. Fans get the lineups and roster of both teams before each matchup. Along with the height and weight of our guys, can we get their favorite show on Netflix or who the picked in the Drake and Meek beef?
3) Force Us
Ok, and this is the most extreme and biggest gamble so stick with me. Every Freshmen and incoming student has to go through “University Seminar,” which for those bless enough to have skipped out on that, is essentially an introductory course to college and Texas State. Us this power for good Texas State. Make it a requirement for students go to these games, at least one. You didn’t know like chocolate ice cream until you tried it for the first time. I think that’s kind of the issue that is happening. It takes one 64-3 beating the University of Houston to make ruin Texas State Football for some fans, and plants the idea that the Texas State isn’t good at sports. It’s a never ending loop. Texas State will have a bad season, fans will stop caring and walk away, Texas State doesn’t need to shake anything up because there aren’t enough fans making enough noise about the mediocrity to make a change. That is the blueprint for a constant loop of getting looked over by recruits, lacking fan support and losing respect. If you focus on making sure that students get that one taste of Texas State sports, you are giving yourself the opportunity create lifelong fans. The issues can be easily fixed, it’s just going to take the right type of person to fix them.
Featured image by Madison Tyson.