After Reunion weekend, also known as fake Homecoming, it’s become incredibly apparent that Western has school spirit like no other. Hoards of people dressed in purple and white flooded Broughdale Avenue and the streets of London.
Only one place seemed to be lacking in purple and proud students — the actual football game. Although the crowd was filled with alumni, current students don't seem to have the same amount of pride in Mustangs athletics.
It’s not a secret that Western, as well as the OUA as a whole, has issues with attendance at their games. It’s unfortunate, because often there is high quality entertainment available, often for free to students. Who can forget the women’s hockey game that went to triple overtime, before Western dramatically won and earned a spot at the National championship? Probably most people, seeing as barely over a hundred people came to watch.
It’s easy to preach about low attendance at games, and encourage people to go and support Western Mustang athletics, but this isn’t an issue about supporting teams and our athletic department. This about supporting athletes, real students and people who dedicate their time and their lives to representing a school and a student body that doesn’t seem to care at all.
As a student athlete, it’s disheartening to think that all the effort, all the sweat, and all the time that gets put into being an athlete for Western often goes unnoticed. There is little appreciation for the amazing teams and athletes at this school, because nobody comes out to support them. Go to any Mustangs hockey game during the regular season and it’ll be obvious that often not even the friends of these athletes come out to games.
It’s upsetting when every home game almost feels like an away game, because the same numbers of fans come to home games as on an away trip. There are no fired-up fans to cheer on the Mustangs at home games, giving them a home turf advantage. Games are normally on weekends, so it’s not hard to come out and catch a game on campus. Bring some friends, cheer on your school, show them you care, and have some fun.
For teams like soccer and basketball, where often the women’s and men’s teams play back to back, their home games often have more fans for the away team, as whichever team is not playing cheers on their friends.
Mustangs athletics will never reach the level of attendance that the NCAA does, and in a way that’s good, because the NCAA has its own problems. At the very least, come out and support your friends if they have game, and bring the same rowdy pride to the games as you do homecoming. The athletes will appreciate it.
When fans come to games and cheer on Mustangs teams, it makes a world of difference to the game. It electrifies the energy, and allows athletes to give it their all, and then some in order to win while representing their school in front of a loud crowd. With Western being a school so well known for athletics, the athletes deserve at least a bit of support from the students for all the pride they bring to Western.