When aerospace engineering senior Brett Ringgold tells his peers he’s a swimmer, they stare blankly as if they’ve never heard of the sport before and ask, “Is our team any good?”
The UT men’s swim team alone has won 13 NCAA championships since 1981 and currently has two Olympic gold medalists on the team. So yes, our team is pretty good. Other impressive teams this year include our women’s volleyball, soccer and basketball teams. It’s embarrassing when our student body is unaware that football is not the only sport worthy of our attention on campus. Football is cute, but students should make an effort to support other teams this school year.
On any given home football game, close to 100,000 people will show up to support the Horns, but it’s common for sports like women’s soccer to have less than 1,000 people in attendance. Many student athletes such as exercise science junior Paige Hooper feel they get plenty of support from the University but would love to see more students come to home games.
“We went to Kansas, and they had a rowdy student section, but we don’t really have that environment. Students should know we are a talented team who has been training everyday since the beginning of August,” Hooper said.
We should not underestimate the power of a supportive student section at sporting events. Bringing things like glow sticks and cow bells are not just fun for the user — they get athletes pumped before and during their performance.
Students should not let a lack of knowledge about a sport keep them from supporting their peers. Most sporting events are much more exciting in real life. Attending an unfamiliar event could be a great learning opportunity as well as a fun way to be social. Additionally, students would have the opportunity to experience the amazing facilities maintained by the University. Our soccer field is kept in pristine condition, and the Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center is considered one of the fastest pools in the world due to its depth, gutter system, high filtration rate and lane width.
To better support all athletes, students could strive to attend one event for each non-football sport on campus. If every student aspired to do something like this, we could do a much better job supporting our fellow Longhorns during their athletic careers.
If students already have a Big Ticket, they should put it to use. Students may use their Big Ticket to get into any ticketed home game. If students do not have a Big Ticket, the price for non-football sports is either inexpensive or free.
This season, a soccer ticket was not more than $3, and it only costs $6 to watch a volleyball game. With the exception of NCAA conferences, students can get into non-ticketed sporting events such as swimming, tennis and golf for free.
With more than 51,000 students and about 15 sports teams on campus, there’s no reason we shouldn’t share the love and support incredible non-football athletes. We should take advantage of seeing some of the best athletes in the country right here on campus. When students have a home game or meet, we should make them feel at home. Let’s be the university that helps all our student athletes perform their best by showing up and cheering them on like lunatics. Mark your calendar for the next women’s basketball home game on the 30th or join me to watch some world-class swimming and diving at the Texas Hall of Fame Invite Nov. 29 through Dec. 2. See ya there.
Alarcon is a UTeach Liberal Arts student from Austin.