Athletes feel enthusiasm for sports is too limited

by Beacon Staff • March 19, 2008

"I could count all the fans on one hand," Tasso said. "It shouldn't be like that.,Freshman print journalism major Ian Tasso recalled a men's soccer game he attended during the fall, but what struck him wasn't the team's performance. Instead, it was the number of people who attended.

"I could count all the fans on one hand," Tasso said. "It shouldn't be like that."

Emerson students often receive e-mails and see announcements on e-campus.com concerning plays, musical performances and internships. Unfortunately, though, when those announcement concern sports they often fall on deaf ears.

Both athletes and their fellow students have expressed their displeasure with being less informed about athletics at Emerson in comparison with other activities. Junior tennis player David Fein said he feels almost none of the announcements sent out by the college are dedicated to sports try-outs, games or intramural opportunities.

"In my experience, the only time I hear of [sporting] events is from other students, not including RAs," said the film production major. "I did not hear about sports through information sessions or tours. I fell into it by chance."

The men's tennis team has achieved success recently, appearing in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference championship four years in a row and coming out with the crown in three of those seasons.

Tennis isn't the only team finding success in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. In the last year, 11 of the 12 varsity teams at Emerson went to the GNAC tournament, and nine finished with .500 records or better.

"I think that the athletics staff at Emerson really wants for sports to be popular," said junior writing, literature and publishing major Kyle Wright. "But the overall apathy from the stereotypical Emerson elitists pretty much drains that dry."

The athletics staff is trying hard to combat the ambivalence. With the addition of the Field at Rotch Playground, where both the men's and women's soccer and lacrosse teams play their games, and the Piano Row gymnasium, student-athletes have local arenas to play in and a home field for practices and games.

Fein said that in order to draw more students into the mix, the staff could make some changes to the way they go about advertising.

"By putting more on the Web site, on Facebook, on flyers around school, and just promoting the sports and the success of the sports will improve the attraction to athletics at the school," Fein said.

Tasso agreed with the notion that sports are not advertised as greatly as other events at Emerson.

"I get tons of e-mails every week, but I didn't get a single one about going to the men's basketball [GNAC] tournament games," Tasso said. "Small things like that-e-mails-could help get more students to go to the games and support their teams."

In a further effort to increase interest in sports, the men's tournament games were broadcast live on the Emerson channel during the team's run to the GNAC title game.

Maude Okrah, a junior marketing communication major and basketball player, said there has been an increase in student attendance [at basketball games] but that the school still has a long ways to go.

"I overheard a conversation just last week in which a student didn't even know we had a gym," Okrah said. "And it's been open for over a year and half."

Tasso said that athletes, students and staff should work together to make sports an attractive asset of Emerson College.

"I think if the school as a whole made an effort to show that not only do they respect student-athletes and sports in general, but they appreciate them also, there would be a much stronger balance."