The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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SMU fans should stay united for all sports

This is in response to the commentary from Wednesday, March 7 entitled, “We fought Memphis and the law won.” Let’s start with where I agree with Zachary Upcheshaw. It was possibly one of the best basketball performances since we played Texas Tech. It also came down to the wire, and all the historical data in his column were correct. Finally, I agree that the lack of scholarship players was detrimental to the game, along with the refs’ blindness.

Now it’s time to get to the problems I had with his article.

First off, I don’t agree that the student section has been bashed much this year. The students are begged to attend athletic events because we have low student turnout most of the time. Most schools usually have a good representation of students at their sporting events. I’ll admit that attendance has risen since I have been here at SMU. I would know because I have seen the highs and lows of SMU athletics with my own eyes thanks to my cherished membership in the Mustang Band.

The SMUPD has the responsibility to protect and serve everyone, not just the SMU students. I’ll grant Upcheshaw that SMUPD doesn’t always handle all situations with the utmost care, but I am sure that they have good reason, which I’d love to hear. The SMUPD isn’t a rag-tag group of rent-a-guards; they go through the academy just like any other officer in any city police force. We should be grateful that SMU can afford real police officers to keep the peace.

I pose the question: How often does the student body support SMU athletics? I have been to many events that students don’t attend. For example, our nationally competitive soccer teams and our swimming and dive teams, not to mention our other women’s athletics, are not well-supported. Our volleyball team is consistently improving and competitive. Who doesn’t like to watch women in tight shorts spike a ball hard enough to severely bruise a normal person? I do. Also, the rowing teams are usually pretty good and compete with the big schools.

I’d also like to mention a team that goes unnoticed a lot despite consistent play. Women’s basketball isn’t well-received because it isn’t a big-name sport. Head coach Rhonda Rompola has held the position for 16 long years. The women’s games consist of the following people: the refs, the teams, a great announcer, the Mustang Band, 100-plus older fans, and maybe 20 students, along with any high-school or younger groups SMU brings in. It isn’t like the women play in an undisclosed location. They play in Moody.

I would also like to address Mr. Upcheshaw’s point about the 20 students who were ejected. In my time here at SMU, I’ve seen many students ejected from a game, which is not new to any sport. However, the reason for ejections vary. I am not saying all those ejected didn’t necessarily deserve it, but I have seen students being escorted away that could not walk a straight line to the doors.

I doubt in such a frustrating game that any of us can cleverly heckle the opposing bench consistently. I am certain that those 20 students could outyell the senior center convention from Memphis. On the other hand, I would like to point out that in the first half, the 100-plus fans on the west end of the court could have been more influential instead of being prodded by the band to do something – and only a handful caught on.

In conclusion, I would like to say that attending one game en masse does not mean they’re off the hook for supporting SMU athletics. I encourage everyone to go to the other athletic events SMU has to offer: a soccer game, a volleyball match, a women’s basketball game. People will always bash our teams and our fans until they unite every time we play. I have full faith that all SMU athletics will improve and we will once again be a national name in sports.

About the Writer:

Paul Vattakavanich is a senior finance, economics and math major. He can be reached at [email protected].

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