Battling Apathy at an Apathetic School

ryan field

I was asked by my friends Fish and Woldy to help them with the sports section of a new Northwestern publication, NUIntel. I will be writing a weekly column in an attempt to battle apathy at Northwestern in regards to the school’s athletics. The first installment wasn’t posted on the website because it is not up and running yet, so I decided to post it here:

I get it, because I go to school here, too.

I know you have class at 9:30 every morning, and Saturday is your one chance to sleep until 2 in the afternoon.

I know you had a rough Friday night that involved heavy drinking, dry heaving and hours of chasing after that one girl who kept giving you flirty looks at the bar but who has to go to the bathroom every time you try to talk to her.

I hear you. I’ve got 200 pages of reading to do for Monday, too. I’m sure you have a million other things to do on Saturday morning as well. But guess what: I don’t care.

If you’re a freshman, you haven’t had time to come up with these excuses. If you’re an upperclassman, let’s stop with the whining, starting…now. It’s football season at Northwestern, and starting Saturday, the student section at Ryan Field needs to be packed with students clad in purple.

My plan for this column is to judge school spirit at Northwestern (or lack thereof) every week. I’ve developed a scale, from 1 to 10, with 1 representing a campus-wide coma preventing any student from going to a home game, and 10 representing a campus-wide frenzy ready to dye Lake Michigan purple.

Saturday is the first home game when students are back on campus. For 2,000+ freshmen, it will be their first experience at Ryan Field. It also happens to be the first game of the Big Ten season for the ‘Cats. So one would expect students to be excited for the 11 a.m. kickoff.

And, for the most part, students seem to actually be eagerly anticipating the game. I am fully expecting off-campus tailgates to be bumping with kegs, beer pong and chants of “Go U,” followed by a packed student section at gametime.

But unless Northwestern wins, this will probably be the last game at which this is the case, with the exception of the Halloween game against Penn State (which probably has more to do with dressing up in costume than watching football). But if Northwestern wins, and builds some momentum in the coming weeks (maybe even getting ranked in the top 25), students will keep coming back.

So for week one, I’ll be generous with my apathy rating. I’d like to give the freshmen class the benefit of the doubt, and hope that upperclassmen remember the Alamo Bowl and last year’s magical season.

Apathy Rating for the week of the Minnesota Game: 6- genuine student excitement for a home football game.


One response to “Battling Apathy at an Apathetic School

  1. Sometimes I feel the same way about BU athletics. The hockey team has gotten support while it’s been great, but plenty of other teams have barely had fans in the stands.

    If you can come up with a good argument to convince people to come out, even when the teams aren’t great, I’ll happily spread it.

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