Admittedly, I’d never seen a Gustavus football game before the last of the season. Some friends of mine (filthy Cobbers from up North) came to visit and cheer on their team. With convincing, I went, too. They could head to the playoffs with a win. We were 3-6. Ho-hum.
To my chagrin, those Gusties played very well. Don’t let the final score or the win/loss column dissuade you. They went out to play a tough team and play they did. I was very impressed with the quality of football that came from my schoolmates. If there were errors, I couldn’t find them.
I felt foolish afterward, as both of my friends were huge sports enthusiasts for their college, whereas I had been lackluster at best. Compliments about our football stadium flowed profusely from their mouths (have you seen the Concordia field? Oh boy…), as well as how convenient it is that we students can trip from anywhere on campus and be inside the hockey arena. We’re really fortunate to have a hockey arena right on campus. Other colleges (like those nasty Cobbers) have to walk or drive far out of their way to see their home team play. I was humbled. What doesn’t seem like much truly is a lot to others.
Now, nobody should beat themselves up because they’ve been a poor fan. I know it’s hard to support Black and Gold when times are tough. However, there’s much more good to be had from a game than a satisfying final score.
When I was very young, going to my high school’s homecoming game was one of the best nights of the year. I didn’t give a rip about the team. The atmosphere, on the other hand, was electric. No matter the play of the game, everyone was there and cheering hard for the home team. It’s that kind of energy a fan live for that makes a game a real game. Now that there’s a caliber of play that’s not only fun to watch but draws scores more people, there’s an energy about these games I never knew I was missing.
Besides, being a fan only when the team is good doesn’t give the rights to being a bonafide fan (looking at you, pseudo-Cheeseheads…). A fanatic is exactly that: someone who is absolutely crazy about their team/school/chess club, no matter the output. Naturally, it’s much more fun to watch when the team wins, but when experiencing bad times, Gustie Nation tends to go ballistic when we pull out a “W.”
And when I say “we” pull out the win, I mean “we” pull it out. The players. The fans. We all take part because we all want it the most. The best kind of victory is shared between the ones who wanted it most. Without the gas that drives our student athletes, there’s not much for them to compete for.
So go on, Gusties! It’s never too late to see your first hockey/swimming/basketball game! The fact that you’re there speaks volumes to your peers who have practiced hard for their Alma Mater. Make it up to them. Put on your Black and Gold.