Student section struggles

Understanding student sports attendance

She shoots–the ball teeters on the edge of the rim while the crowd seems to hold its breath, then as it swiftly falls into the hoop, the crowd erupts in deafening, joyous cheer.

Finding time to attend a sporting event can get buried under piles of schoolwork, extracurriculars, jobs and a multitude of other reasons. Sometimes games can be intimidating because of the pandemonium of noise, scrambling for an available seat, or even not understanding the game itself.

From left to right, Jeff Gordon, Evan Carpenter, Darius Holmes, and Kainoa Lee cheer during a SPU women’s volleyball game on Sept. 29, 2022. (Rio Giancarlo)

“I live far away from campus, and haven’t seen it worth staying for an event, living far can be hard because I don’t want to drive back tired,” said Kelsey Nielsen, a commuting second-year sociology major, “I have also only heard of the soccer events and haven’t attended any of the games yet.”

Many students, including Nielsen, agreed that attending an event with friends increases their chances of attendance.

“My schoolwork hasn’t interfered, I just haven’t had any incentive to go. I prefer to attend events for the social aspect,” Nielsen said.

Throughout the semester, each sport remains in season for a few months at a time, rotating through the seasons. In total, SPU has 10 sports programs, including six for the women and four for the men. The variety of activities gives an opportunity to see many exceptional athletes show their skills, but some students wish these sporting events were more actively advertised.

“I think I might definitely want to go to games and stuff if I knew when they were happening, I don’t think I’ve ever heard about an event happening, even from my friends who play the sport,” first-year student Cat Torres says.

Torres, like many other first-year students, is looking for ways to get involved with SPU sporting events and make new friends. She would be more likely to attend sporting events if they were advertised as a space where students can go to be within an environment of people who share school spirit and a willingness for new experiences.

“I’ve had this conversation with some of my friends, and we all agreed that games are more enjoyable when we know there will be a crowd of people supporting our school,” first-year student Audrey You said. “It wouldn’t be as fun if we showed up to a game and were the only students in the crowd.”

Students just want to have fun, and they want SPU athletics to fully embrace this.

“Having fun before, during and after a game is really important for making you want to attend another one,” You said. “I think having a reason to dress up and get decked out in school gear and colors with friends would make going to stuff like that lots more fun.”