Missouri Western is not a Division I school. It does not have Division I enrollment. It does not have Division I facilities. It does not have Division I talent. It never has, it never will.
That being said, Missouri Western athletics represents the University and every student and faculty member that has ever occupied it, just like every other University.
In reality, there is no difference between athletic departments besides the different levels of competitiveness and funding. They all serve the same purpose.
So, why does the amount of support the programs receive differ so dramatically?
Is it because of a lack of awareness? Or do people just simply not care? Whatever the reason may be, I think the lack of support from students is something that needs to be emphasized here at Missouri Western.
In my opinion, one of the best parts about college is being able to wear around that Missouri Western hoodie because you can call it yours; because the name across the front is a symbol of one of the biggest journeys you go on in life.
I don’t show up to Missouri Western athletic events just because I like sports. I also show up because I want to support my school, the place that I call mine.
I think all of us can find a way to show some pride, because the athletes that dedicate their time and effort to the name across the front of their jerseys are all damn proud they are putting in that work as a Griffon.
Here at Missouri Western, it is as simple as swiping your student ID to get into an athletic event. In the time at the game, you can also use your Max Experience and get a free drink and snack. (All of which is a part of your tuition, so if you do not go, it is being wasted).
To receive a first row spot in the student section and a Division-1 school, students sometimes sleep outside of the arena the day before and miss class to reserve a spot. At Missouri Western, you can show up at nearly any point in a game and find a seat as close as your heart desires.
Besides the Northwest game each season, there are very few packed crowds. This can change.
Imagine if Western treated game nights like bigger schools did. Imagine if, instead of just sitting in the residence halls, students filled Looney each home game. The atmosphere would completely change, and the involvement for every member of the crowd would change.
Now, I’m not saying every person needs to care about sports. No one has to care about sports. Just try to care a bit more about your university.
So, if you’re a student, come to Looney when Western is playing at home. Stand in the student section and give it a chance. Don’t be afraid to be loud, because the people already in that student section want nothing more than to be louder than they were before.
When the time comes for Missouri Western to be in the spotlight, be able to say you provided support from the beginning.
Missouri Western is a community, and it should be looked at that way.
Be a bigger part of the Griffon community and make it out to some games; or, at the least, take an extra couple minutes and check the score on Twitter.