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Opinion

UWRF school spirit lacks as Falcons dominate winter sports

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March 2, 2012

This is an exciting time to be a River Falls Falcon sports fan.

The women’s hockey team is on fire coming off two shutouts in the first round of the NCHA playoff hockey game against Eau Claire and will be hosting Lake Forest this weekend in the semifinals.

The men’s hockey team had a strong year and was nationally ranked most of the year but was upset in the first round by the Eau Claire Blugold men’s team.

The men’s basketball team just went down to Whitewater and won the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) championship game and earned themselves a bid to the NCAA tournament.

The women’s basketball team also will be in the NCAA tournament, making it the first time in school history that both the men and the women’s basketball teams will be in the dance in the same year. The first two rounds of the men’s tournament will be hosted right here at River Falls and the team is hoping that the Karges Center is going to be crazy!

The lack of school spirit that has been shown around this campus is almost sickening.

Earlier this year a friend and I, both freshmen, were ecstatic about going to out first Falcon football game. We thought we would have to fight for a seat and went a whole hour early just to come to the sad realization that we were the only ones there that early and that the games never got packed.

The people at the game were mostly parents and there was no real dominant student section to be found.

I had a similar experience later in the year when I decided to go to the basketball team’s white-out event. I went and bought white shorts and got all dressed in white excited to cheer and pump up the team. When I got there, I realized that no one really got into the whole white-out idea and the gym was pretty empty.

The basketball games throughout the year did have a little more support than football, but it was not until the last regular season game of the year that the gym was packed full of loud and rowdy students.

The men’s hockey games were usually full of supporters and the fans often cheered and gave the Falcons that home ice advantage that can be so important and give a huge momentum boost.

I was left disappointed once again, however as the biggest game of the year for the Falcon’s hockey team came in the first round of the NCHA playoffs against Eau Claire and the student section was the smallest of the year. I still cannot wrap my mind around why the biggest game of the year had the smallest student section!

Now I realize that this is not a Division I school and I might be asking for too much or living in a dream world thinking that there should be a rocking student section for every sporting event and every game.

I understand that many students are busy and might not have a lot of time. Being in a Division III school has a special feel to it though.

There are players on these teams that we have in our class or see in the lunchroom. There is a more personal feeling to the student-athletes that we watch being in a small school.

Get out to Hunt Arena and cheer the women’s hockey team off. Go to Karges and watch the men’s team on the biggest stage of the year. Possibly even make the small half hour drive to St. Thomas to cheer on the women’s team.

These athletes have put in hours of sweat, dedication and pushed themselves to new limits they did not know they were capable of.

They have rose to the occasion time after time all year and in the one of the biggest weekends in Falcons sports history, it is our job as classmates, friends, and fans to go out and cheer our butts off this weekend!

Ryan Tibbitts is a freshman majoring in journalism. He loves all sports but obsesses over his Packers.