On Saturday night, I put more effort into my color coordinating than I normally do. I had made a list mentally of the evening’s attire. Green and yellow USF T-shirt? Check. Green and yellow ribbons? Check. Green and yellow face paint? Check. I was ready to see another amazing performance by our men’s basketball team.
As I made my way to the stands, green and yellow filled three-fourths of the gym. Apparently I was among many others who had put some thought into their outfits. Before the game even started, the crowd was getting heated with two Saint Mary’s fans embedded in our sea of USF devotees. Don’t worry. We had our team’s back and kept those red, blue, and white spectators in their place.
Then the national anthem was sung, the ball in the air, and our team gave their best efforts in keeping those Gaels from victory. When the first half was over, I had high expectations for our players. We all did. As soon as second half began, though, Saint Mary’s seemed to become a lot more aggressive. They made more what I would call “lucky shots” than I have ever seen before.
In the last three minutes, I realized I was alone in cheering on our Dons. What happened? Where was everyone going? Simply put, the fans, which I thought had come out to stand by our team and root them on until the end, were getting up and exiting the building. We had three minutes left, and everyone had lost hope.
I could not help feeling disappointed in my fellow student body. How are our teams supposed to do well if they feel the failure atmosphere setting in? We came to support them—lose or win. We’re all a team in a way. We came together to witness a spectacle that has not taken place for about thirty years. But no, we could not clap our hands a few more times, or shout “U-S-F!” at the top of our lungs in order to let the team know we are there for them.
After the game, I ran into some friends who were talking badly about how the game turned out.
“They needed more defense.”
“What were they doing?”
“Why weren’t they rebounding?”
While it’s easy to point fingers and wonder if their decision for a particular play was the right one to make, I saw more determination to win than before. Didn’t you see them look up? The athletes were looking at us. They were looking to us. They saw us and knew they had an entire gym roaring encouragement.
We only have a few home games left. The least we can do is stop being such downers and remember our school spirit. Remember that this is the time our school came together to be united in something we share: pride for our school and thus pride for our Dons who represent us.
McKenna Taylor is a freshman English major.
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