ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
Whittier College is home to several successful Division III (D3) athletic teams. Women’s Water Polo has two SCIAC Championships, Lacrosse dominates on the field, and Men’s Basketballdraws in more fans than any other sports team. Despite these successes, the College’s student body appears to believe that their sports teams don’t live up to a successful name.
Few students attend sporting events. The majority of students have either attended a handful of sporting events or none at all because they have work, forget, or believe it is a waste of time. “I really only go to football homecoming games. I never really attend games unless friends are either going to or are in the game,” said junior Madison Fiorentino. “I’m not exactly friends with people in sports [at Whittier College] , but in high school I was, so I attended more games.”
At first, one would think the lack of attendance would be due to how the school promotes sporting events, but students each having their own reasons why. “The school promotes the games, but students don’t really create a hyped-up environment outside the gym to make other students really want to go to the games,” said first-year Selena Ramirez. “I think [the school] promotes sports well enough. It’s not about promoting it, it’s how well the actual athletes play,” said first-year Marissa Wright.
Most of students don’t attend sporting events simply because they have heard that all the sports teams are inadequate, despite the College’s success in multiple sports. “I’ve never been to a game, but I’ve heard from other people that it’s just bad sometimes,” said Wright. “Well, most of the time, [I hear] it’s bad.” “From what I’ve heard or read, most of the times, the teams are aren’t doing the greatest. But I know they try their best,” said Ramirez.
According to NCAA, “Division III athletics features student-athletes who receive no financial aid related to their athletic ability.” Unlike D3 student-athletes, Division I athletes are scouted for their athletic abilities and, in return, awarded a financial scholarship to help out with their tuition. Because our student-athletes weren’t given a scholarship for their athletic abilities or scouted from major universities, some students see our sports teams as living up to the D3 stereotype of being satisfactory in sports but nothing more.
“I feel that there are core group of teams on campus that excel and repeatedly do well,” said senior Men’s Lacrosse defenseman and captain Alex Hernandez. “But, also, there are a few teams that may play into that stereotype. But I feel that those teams excel in the classroom.” Others agree that Whittier College’s sports teams, for the most part, embody some of the D3 stereotype. “From the games I’ve seen, we aren’t this horrible, no-good team, but we aren’t the best either,” said Fiorentino.
With all the negative comments toward Whittier College sports teams, Poet Pride is not prevalent amongst the Whittier College student body when it comes to athletics. “Most of the people only have negative commentary about our sports teams, though most who say negative things do not generally support the teams in the first place,” said sophomore and Johnson Residential Advisor Kieran Delceppo. “I don’t think our school as a whole has much Poet Pride when it comes to our sports.”
Others seemed to agree on a general lack of Poet Pride toward our athletic teams. “I think it’s because it’s not the best experience. It’s not something you look forward to,” said Wright. “If our sports games were more exciting I feel like more people would be talking about going to games, even if [our teams]were losing.”
As an athlete, Hernandez has noticed a pattern within sports teams that is not expressed in the rest of the Whittier College student body. “I can say with confidence that within the individual teams, I feel that [they] have a sense of Poet Pride. But a select few show Poet Pride for all teams.”
Not surprisingly, student athletes make up a wide percentage of the Whittier College “Poet Pit” fans. Sports teams tend to go to other sport events to support the Whittier College athletics. The Whittier College soccer teams show their support for the Lacrosse teams, Rugby will go to Football games, and a variety of athletes attend the Whittier College Men’s and Women’s Basketball games. “Myself and our team attend sporting events when we can,” said Hernandez. “[We do it] to show our support in hopes that they the other teams come out to our games.”
Though it is nice that the sports teams support one another, they shouldn’t have to make up the majority of the College’s team spirit. This isn’t about whether our sports teams are winning or losing, it’s about having pride in our school. Imagine the bleachers full of Poet fans cheering on the College’s sport teams, the purple and gold jumping up and down amongst the crowd-a great sight to see. Let us come together as one Poet unit and leave the trash-talking to our rivals.