Hamoudi's Suggestions For More Attendance at Home Sports EventsColumn by Haider A. Hamoudi
As all of you may well know, attendance at sports events at the Institute is less than ideal. While part of this may be because this school is heavily populated with geeks who are more interested in seeing Captain Jean-Luc Picard use the anti-matter containment beam to rescue Commander Reiker from Omega-3 for the twentieth time than watch the Engineers play basketball, I think that there is a certain element of the MIT student body that just might enjoy cheering on the home team. Acting on this instinct, I have come up with a few ways I think attendance at athletic events might be increased.
The Athletic Department should do more to encourage participation. When I went to attend the basketball game last Thursday, I was stopped at the door by a campus police officer, who told me that I could not bring the water I was carrying into the gym. Upon inquiry, the officer explained that food and drinks were not allowed in the gymnasium, which was a good thing since the water would probably have turned into ice if I had brought it in.
Apparently, we do not heat our gymnasiums here at MIT, and the genius who designed Rockwell cage surrounded the entire thing with windows, which are curtained 24 hours a day to keep the heat in. What we have is a gymnasium which is about as cold as the great outdoors at which refreshments are not sold and are even prohibited from entering, yet we wonder exactly why nobody shows up to watch the games. Selling refreshments could be a great source of revenue for athletic teams, and some may show up just to get a bite to eat. It happens at LSC movies.
Media coverage. No, I do not think any of the major networks, Sports Illustrated, or even The Boston Globe much care about what happens to the athletic teams here. But perhaps MIT cable, which runs an hour long call-in show after every Star Trek episode, might want to cover a game or two. Perhaps if people saw some of the MIT teams play on television, they might want to come watch them. The Tech sports department will even provide commentators free of charge. Since nobody wants to watch some dweeb talk about 8.02 for the zillionth time, it cannot possibly hurt their ratings to try it.
Mascot change. The Engineers? Are these teams proud of their nerd image? Do they want their opponents to think they are wearing calculators instead of cups in their jock straps. Can't we come up with a better name than that? Because I think that women's sports as important as men's and thus the female athletes should not be subjected to tremendous amounts of ridicule, Beavers is also unsatisfactory. How about something which is fierce, intimidating, ruthless, and cruel, the MIT thesis advisors, perhaps?
Gratuitous sex and violence. There can be no doubt that cheerleading is a sexist activity which should receive contempt from all members of the MIT community. But then again, sex sells, and more people will come to the games. Could we maybe counterbalance the sexism by including men in tight shorts at women's events with pom-poms jumping up and down cheering on the women?
If sexism is really a problem, maybe we can replace it with some old-fashioned violence. Lloyd Johnston G, the goon of the hockey team, may have just started a trend. Why can't every team have a goon, preferably a person with no skill whose sole function is to enter the game at a boring point and just beat the hell out of his or her opponent? I will volunteer to be the goon for any team that will take me, and I know some other people who might want to give "gooning" a shot.
There you have it: my ideas for increasing attendance at athletic events. Maybe if just some of these ideas were implemented, more people would be seen at the games. Now stop reading and go watch the home team play.