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Remember the Beavers

Thomas Hay

When I went home over Thanksgiving Break, my high school friends and I had the inevitable conversation about the positive and negative qualities of our respective schools. My friend who goes to Duke brought up how great the school was because of the basketball team. He then said, “it must suck that MIT has no good sports teams to root for.”

Where does this assumption come from? Just because we go to a school renowned for the academic prowess of its students, people should not automatically assume that MIT athletics are a joke. The problem is that many students, in addition to outsiders, hold this assumption as well. For those of you without faith in MIT sports, let me enlighten you. They aren’t just competitive, they are among the best in the nation! We need to get out and support them.

Just a few weeks ago, I was standing in Rockwell Cage, black and silver paint covering my body, while screaming myself hoarse in support of our woman’s volleyball team. They made it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Division III Volleyball tournament. Each day of their tournament run, more and more students crowded into Rockwell Cage to cheer for the team. By their final game, the stands were packed and the atmosphere was reminiscent of a Division I basketball game. The roar of the crowd was deafening every time MIT scored a point. Students were running around with painted faces and bodies, going absolutely nuts. It was awesome.

More of our sports deserve this same atmosphere. At men’s hockey games there is a dedicated cheering section that is loud, rowdy, and makes the game more fun to watch with its cheers and on-going commentary. There should be a cheering section like this at as many games as possible. Anyone who plays a sport will tell you what a difference it makes to have people cheering for you.

There are plenty of other teams who are having great seasons that need our support. Did you know that the MIT pistol team beat the U.S. Military Academy? The U.S. Military Academy! If that is not impressive, I don’t know what is. As for the teams that aren’t doing so well, we need to support them as well. Home field advantage is only an advantage when your fans outnumber those of the opponent. There should never be a home game where our opponent has more fans than we do. Fans help motivate a team to work harder, to dig deeper, and to never give up.

During the MIT-Tufts basketball game last Saturday the crowd got involved in double overtime and the team responded by tying the game up, sending it into triple overtime. If there had been more fans there, the energy from the fans could have pumped up the team even more. I’m sure both the men’s and women’s basketball teams would love to have you at their games giving them that extra excitement and energy that only a packed set of bleachers can supply.

If nothing else, going to sporting events is fun. First off, it’s free of charge to all MIT students. Get a group of your friends and head out to a game. It’s a great way to hang out, relax, and meet other MIT students. It also gives you an excuse to let out all the frustration of p-sets and tests by screaming your lungs out. Besides, college sporting events are one of the last places left where face and body paint are cool.

So direct your web browser to http://mitathletics.cstv.com, look for a sport that interests you, find the date and time of a home game, and then go! The only way that we can show all the doubters that smart kids can be athletes is to support MIT athletics and help our teams win championships.

Thomas Hay is a member of the Class of 2010.