Saturday, October 31, 2009

Support NMU Football

By Mike Hanold

Baseball may be America’s favorite pastime, but when the leaves change and the temperature falls, football reigns supreme. Nothing compares to tailgate parties and roughing it out in minus 30 degree weather to show your loyalties to you’re favorite NFL or college team. With teams like the Packers and Wolverines in their minds, so many individuals turn their attention away, even to a point that our NMU Wildcats get lost in the mix.

I’m a junior who just transferred this year from Gogebic Community College (which had no football program) and I was very excited to learn that Northern Michigan has a Division II football program. Granted, NMU has mostly D2 programs, but as a fan and former player, I enjoy football because I love the game.

What concerned me was how low some individuals, students and community members alike, thought of the football team. I was a little discouraged when I heard “oh they suck” or “they never were anything”. Despite these remarks, I decided to go to the home-opener against Tiffin to have a look for myself. I believe they have proven the critics wrong! A team that “sucks” couldn’t put up 62 points on their opponent and go on to outscore their opponents 158-68 at home. The Wildcats strong performances against ranked teams such as Wayne State at home and Saginaw Valley State at their homecoming convinced me that these guys are for real.

What surprised and disappointed me the most was the attendance. Did I expect to see crowds like last year’s Miner’s Cup every game? No, but when you’re only drawing a paltry 2,800 fans (double that for homecoming) in an 8,000 seat stadium, there is an issue. There is an issue when the rival team’s fans equal or outnumber the NMU fans or the band is bigger than the student section like on Armed Forces and senior day last year. Even so, there is certainly an issue when there is an “oh they suck” attitude lingering around the Wildcat fan base and the community.

Ferris State, for example, hasn’t always been a dominant team, yet they turn capacity or near-capacity crowds and most of their fans stay loyal through the bad years. That is the tradition that is missing from this school. It takes not only the current students, but the community, alumni, families, etc to make a winning team possible. The players need to know that they are wanted by their fans in order to succeed. In my high school football days, we could be down 30-0 in the third quarter, but just hearing the crowd cheer us on made that score disappear. The 1974 Wildcats went winless, but turned it around for the championship the following year, so it goes to show you that anything is possible.

When you cheer on the Cats, you’re not just supporting the team itself, but you’re supporting the band, the cheerleaders, the former and current Wildcat students and everyone that makes NMU as strong as it is. Though it is true that it has been awhile since we’ve won it all, there is always hope. Before you go and jump on the “oh they suck” bandwagon, just remember, this year could be the year. They can be something, that is, if you help make it happen.

With that being said, let’s make it happen on November 7th against Indianapolis. This game is so important not just because it’s the final game of the season, but for our seniors, it maybe their final game ever. I can’t think of a better way to thank our seniors than to fill the dome with 8,000 screaming fans cheering on a Wildcat victory. Let’s make this game a memorable one. Even if you are not a football fan, do it for your school pride. Together we will make it happen.

1 comment:

Kris said...

That's right Pete! These guys work hard and deserve respect and support. They have been "in" every game this season, even though they came out with a loss a few times(Even GVSU.) Wildcat football has turned the corner! GO CATS!!!!!