Let’s support our athletes

Written by: Jaylin Hardin | Sports Editor

A recent study done by Harvard found that collegiate student-athletes spend up to 25 hours or more a week on their sport — this includes practices, workouts, travel, film sessions and games or competitions. Add in the hours they put in for classes, homework and jobs, and it’s easy to see how much harder a student-athlete would have to work to maintain this.

Sophie Franklin, a senior in Western’s softball program, starts her day at six in the morning and has a combination of weight training, work, class and practice, all of which vary in time and intensity day by day.

Franklin described her mixed experiences with non-athletes on campus. One moment that stuck out to her was the time a group project was done and submitted without her and her group had emailed the professor saying she wasn’t available when she had sent them her schedule and times she was free. “It was very disheartening that the individuals in my group excluded me and I never really got a clear answer on why,” Franklin said. 

Out of 16 answers provided by Franklin’s teammates, 14 of them said they had more positive interactions with staff and students on campus.

Daniel Meade, a freshman thrower for track and field, reported similar positive experiences, but added a feeling of lack of support from the student body.

“I feel like track and field has very little support behind it. It was like that in high school, it’s not a very popular sport,” Meade said. “But it’s really sad when other teams that are not as successful get more popularity when we are extremely good at our sport.” 

Franklin lamented a similar lack of support from the student body.

A common complaint among the student body is that the “vibes” are not the same as the environment of Division One schools; however, it is the students that create that environment. Commonly, students dress to a theme, cheer and sing along with the cheerleaders and interact with the other fans in the stands. A large portion of the fun in the environment comes from the student and fan engagement. Western, however, does not create this environment at games; something that should be pushed for. 

 Western’s athletes work incredibly hard, often with only a month or two off before they return to practices and competition. They play through all kinds of weather and travel hundreds of miles in short periods while maintaining the academic standards that are required of them. As a student body, we should be supporting them much more than they currently receive.

“With softball, we try to do t-shirt giveaways at home games for home runs, strikeouts and general giveaways,” Franklin said. “Plus, we have fun music, great cheers and grand enthusiasm and love for our sport. I would love to see more students come and support us. Trust me, it’ll be worth attending!”

Contact the author at howlsports@wou.edu