Rams fans, get in the stands

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Opinion by Kenny Yum

The biggest Ryerson event this week will go down as one that was ignore. But not if we can help it.

The event is, of course, the OUA’s east division basketball playoffs that will take place at York University this week. Two wins found send Ryerson to the nationals in Halifax — which would be no small feat.

Regular readers of The Eyeopener will recognize our continued efforts to boost basketball. You’ve probably read about the lack of funding our teams get compared with other universities. You may have read that our fan support is dismal, that as a commuter school, Ryerson finds it hard to pull in students for a Saturday night game.

You might have read Eyeopener sports editor Sean Fitz-Gerald’s impassioned column in the last issue, where he lambasted you, the students, for your lack of interest in two of your best varsity teams.

But you never read any of that morale boosting stuff here in the editorial page.

Well, now you will.

The last time we ran an editorial on sports — it was on athletic funding, I recall — I asked Sean to write one, as I was not the best person to comment on Ryerson varsity athletics. I’m still not the best.

In my five years at Ryerson, most of which I spent with the campus press, I had never paid attention to our teams.

I remember a couple of years ago, walking near the Hub cafeteria, reading a huge banner that wished the men’s basketball team well on their run for the playoffs. They must be pretty good, I though. I though nothing else of it.

That was, until one Sunday afternoon a few months ago when my sports editor dragged me out to a Rams men’s basketball game.

You see, you don’t only cheer for the Rams because they are phenomenal athletes that can entertain you with their moves. You cheer for them because they represent your school name and colours. Because they are students, just like you. And because they believe that school is more than just depositing your brain cells on campus for a few hours every day before heading to your suburban confines. And because they are good. Damned good.

On that court, Ryerson is no RyeHigh to its competitors. The Rams are fierce players.

Since that first game, I have become more than a journalistic observer. I am a fan.

So where are you?

When I attended basketball games, I was surprised by the lack of student fans, but impressed by all the diehards that make it out to every game. From folks in admin and faculty, these fans are truly the sixth player on the team.

Your apathy rings louder when I watch opposing teams draw large, loud and boisterous crowds to our home games. Even sadder displays of Ryerson apathy are in full view when I watched the OUA game of the week on TV where hometown fans pack the stands and actually make noise.

Torontonians love sports. We support four major league teams on a population of two million and yet only a handful of students come to a free varsity game.

Sad, isn’t it?
When the Rams play at York against Laurentian on Thursday night, I’m sure they’ll have their share of supporters. But they’ll be needing more. The bandwagon is not yet full. Climb on board.

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