The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

You get what you pay for

Every time I pick up a column by a fellow writer - sometimes in The Cavalier Daily, sometimes not - about the fan base at Virginia, I yawn. What a broken record. More whining about how we aren't good fans. Leave me alone, right?

They aren't wrong, of course. It's just not fresh. We've been terrible fans here at Virginia for as long as I can remember - what else is new? It's like writing about how we have a bad football team.

Though I am an avid Wahoo, I think it's against the spirit of sports and fandom if someone starts telling me I have to cheer or I have to enjoy the football games. I cheer because I want to cheer, and that's the point. It's sort of like: I may disagree with what you have to say but I will defend with my life your right to say it.

But here is what bothers me.

The same people who wear sundresses to football games and leave at halftime are the same people who complain about the Cavaliers not performing well in athletics.

The same people who tailgate for two hours Saturday mornings then don't actually attend the games are the same ones who mock our miserable record against Virginia Tech.

The same people who couldn't name one player on our men's basketball team are the same ones who called for the firing of Al Groh the season after he won ACC Coach of the Year.

I was appalled Saturday by the number of times I asked friends, "Hey, you watching the game tonight?" and received a response of, "What game?"

[I hope everyone reading this knows what game I am talking about, but if you don't, this column is for you.]

The bottom line is this, 'Hoos: If you want to watch good football and good basketball - or any other sport for that matter - then you have to be committed. Obviously I want everyone to be committed, but it is totally your prerogative. What you can't do, however, is whine about the fact that we are perennially bad at basketball, or that we always lose to Tech in football, but then never go to the games. Never wear orange. Never get a sabre point.

It's like a kid who never goes to class or does his homework complaining about getting bad grades.

A few months back, a fellow columnist wrote a piece called "Hokie for a Weekend," in which he described how the atmosphere in Blacksburg is much more contagious and fun to be in than in Charlottesville. This article sparked one of the most intense discussions about Virginia sports I have ever seen. What I can't figure out is how anyone in their right minds can think we are better fans than those at Virginia Tech. If you think we are better, you are just delusional. Plain and simple. I've been to Lane Stadium. I've been to Cassell Coliseum. I've been to Cameron Indoor. I've been to the Comcast Center. I've seen many other games at many other campuses. And yes, I've been to Scott and JPJ. We aren't better fans. Not by a long shot. Any example you might think of in your head right now of a time we had good fan support is just an anomaly of fair-weather-fanness.

I have friends at Tech, who, going into their school knew nothing about football. Nevertheless, they wait out in the rain, dress up, block out their weekends to attend one of their home games. I have friends at Virginia who are football fanatics that go whole seasons without attending a game here.

So as long as we agree we have a worse fan base then Tech, why are we surprised that they consistently perform better than we do?

Is anyone surprised that Europe has better soccer than America?

It's not a coincidence. If you want consistently good athletic programs, you have to be committed. Virginia isn't committed the same way as Tech.

So all you Wahoos who do actually bleed orange and blue, keep it up. Those who stay for all four quarters of the games they attend, keep it up. All you Cavalier hopefuls, who drive to other states to watch our basketball team, keep it up. And it's fair that you should want some success.

But the rest of you need to put a sock in it. You get what you pay for.


Latest Podcast

Today, we sit down with both the president and treasurer of the Virginia women's club basketball team to discuss everything from making free throws to recent increased viewership in women's basketball.