This time of the year for sports fans sucks.
No, really, nothing can be worse than February. January brings the end of college football, while the Super Bowl—the most anticipated sporting event of the year—throws many fans into an extended Groundhog Day-like winter. The NBA and NHL hit their All-Star breaks, and, like the Pro Bowl before a few weeks before it, something about goalies who don’t care, nonexistent (or Dennis Clifford-style) defense, and a dunk contest without Blake Griffin lack in entertainment. And we’re still two weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting in sunny Florida or Arizona, where the world shall see my straightjacket-worthy, insane passion for America’s Pastime.
Here at Boston College, the same sports lull happens. With no cameras fixated on Steve Addazio on the sidelines, football fans begin to go stir crazy. Hockey fans panic about whether the Eagles will make a return to the tournament, a neurosis accentuated by a loss to Northeastern in the first round of the Beanpot. Most notably, many start to realize the precise talent level of the men’s basketball team, thus causing fans to treat Conte Forum as one would District 9 or Azkaban—unless, of course, you root for the opposing team.
How do athletic directors and marketing staffs combat this attendance issue? One magical word does the trick: free. There’s nothing Americans love more than free stuff, and sports teams love to lure fans in with the promise of plastic chotchkies or free Papa John’s pizzas—that is, of course, if your probably last place team can score a certain number of goals/points or (gasp) win the damn game. As much as I adore my New York Mets, I will specifically plan some trips to Citi Field based on whether or not it’s David Wright Bobblehead Night. From free calendars to old ‘90s television-themed nights, they may not improve a team’s performance, but at least it gives the few, the proud, the 2,500 fans who actually showed up (and that’s being generous) a little something to remember that blowout loss on a Saturday afternoon.
BC desperately tried that tactic last night, throwing out all the shots it could. Yesterday’s men’s basketball game versus the Tar Heels featured a t-shirt toss, sumo wrestling fans trying to play basketball, some odd featured hat that resembled a Seminole headdress, and an abomination simply known as the Human Slinky. Despite all of these efforts, North Carolina fans still came out in far larger droves than the Eagles’ faithful.
Cheap feathered hats and a strange halftime show—unless it features extremely talented children and jump ropes—simply won’t get the job done to bring fans back to the Forum. It’d be easy to say “a strong recruiting class in 2015” or “a couple of home wins against ACC teams” or “talent” will do the trick, but I, rather, think the problem lies in the promotions themselves—they simply aren’t enticing enough to BC fans. They don’t actually relate to the true experience of what it’s like to be fans of Massachusetts’ premier (and only) Power Five Conference school.
To fix that problem, I offer several ideas for promotional gifts that BC could offer Superfans.
Ian McCoshen Boxing Gloves: Ever had someone who pushed you so far into the boards you need to show him who’s the boss of the ice? What if someone didn’t seem to provoke you at all? Well, at very least, make sure you protect your hands with Ian McCoshen boxing gloves. They’re guaranteed to help you win a fight, even if it means a 10-minute game misconduct will follow.
Women’s Hockey Championship Pennant: A pre-emptive suggestion about what will happen at the University of Minnesota’s Ridder Arena come April, while also a friendly reminder that BC’s best hockey team in 2014-15 isn’t coached by Jerry York.
On Eagle’s Wings Night: On this day, we congregate to memorialize all of those extra points we’ve lost this year, often at the expense of our hopes to just win a bowl game in our lifetime. A free hot dog if you wear all black, and two if you sign a letter of intent to try out as a placekicker in August.
Post-Game Comedy Show: We couldn’t schedule Amy Poehler since she hates us, but BC can fall back on other alumni in the entertainment biz, like the original Spock on Star Trek Leonard Nimoy, or the belovedly impartial Elisabeth Hasselbeck, star of shows such as Fox and Friends, The View, and Survivor: Australian Outback.
Sherman Alston Size Chart: Ever wanted to suit up in the maroon and gold and find out what it’s like to play in some of the country’s biggest stadiums on Saturdays, but worried you weren’t big enough? Have no fear with the Sherman Alston Size Chart. The miniscule chart will measure yourself against the Eagles’ pint-sized powerful wideout—three Sherms generally equals the average male American adult—proving that dreams really can come true when it comes to the gridiron.
Jim Christian Drinking Bird: You know those birds that use science to dip their beaks into water? Same concept here! The only difference is that you have basketball coach Jim Christian as he dips his head into his hands repeatedly because of the mess he has to watch on the court.
Tickle-Me-Dude: I remember my first Christmas present in 1996, a Tickle-Me-Elmo that was furry and, when you squeezed it, it laughed and said “that tickles!” among a multitude of other phrases. Well now BC fans can enjoy the same thing, with a stuffed Steve Addazio that recites readings from the Book of Dudes or any one of his vines.
Featured Image by Arthur Bailin / Heights Editor