Column: Creating The Signature Home Game
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
As I look back on my three-plus years at Boston College, I occasionally pause to consider my regrets. I ponder parties I never attended, classes I never took, girls I never had the courage to ask out. One regret overshadows all the others, though: the lack of a signature home football game.
What is a signature home football game, you ask? This Saturday, turn on the TV and watch a home game at a traditional football powerhouse. Observe the complete lack of open seats. Observe the passion in the student section. Observe the unbridled joy if the home team wins, or the soul-crushing sadness if the home team loses. Then ask yourself, has a BC home game ever remotely lived up to that experience?
In my four years at BC, the football team has declined each year in total wins. I am not a sports columnist, and have no interest in assigning blame for this decline. I know the team plays their heart out each week, even in a blowout loss. Rather than hate Spaziani, I pity him. I cannot imagine the prospect of coming to work each day, in an organization to which you have dedicated 15 years of your life, and enduring constant gossip about your job security from complete strangers. Instead, I am merely commenting on the gradual erosion of enthusiasm in the student section at BC football games.
My first home football game was against Northeastern and its now extinct football program. For the first half I reveled in the student chants, band performance, and completely one-sided game. By the fourth quarter though, I saw with dismay that over half the student section had left. Didn’t the Notre Dame students stay for the entire game, win or lose, and faithfully sing their alma mater after the final whistle? Unfortunately, this lack of enthusiasm was a grim foreshadowing of the next few years.
As the football team’s win total has declined, the student section’s passion has followed suit. Overall attendance at games has steadily dropped each year. Some of my friends don’t even bother to purchase student tickets anymore. As for myself, at most home games I only spend the first half in the student section. This is partially because my father also has season tickets, and I enjoy spending time with him at the game. It is also partially because I am too lazy to stand up for an entire three-hour football game. Mostly, though, it is because the student section is a shell of its former self. Two consecutive years of repeated blowout losses have completely sapped enthusiasm from the student section experience. Even the Maryland game, which on paper was an exciting last second win, was a disappointment. Most of the student section, having left in disgust when BC was trailing, did not witness the victory. My passion for BC football is at an all-time low.
The upcoming match against Notre Dame is my last, best chance at experiencing a signature home game. Notre Dame is providing its senior class with an undefeated national championship campaign that I could only dream of. However, this home game has all the ingredients of success. For the first time in ages, Alumni Stadium will be sold out. The 8 p.m. kickoff allows more time for tailgating and pre-game shenanigans. Finally, BC faces an undefeated, historic rival. I have been stealthily rooting for Notre Dame for months, dreaming of this titanic evening clash. Even if BC loses, I will savor the first quarter, when the student section will be overflowing with passion. An upset win, though, is a heavenly prospect. I know the BC higher powers would frown upon students storming the field. However, let me frame it this way. If BC pulls off the massive upset, this win will be emblazoned on the walls of Alumni Stadium for years to come. When people ask how you reacted to this incredible win, how will you respond?