This post was written by and republished with permission from Howard Smith of the NCAA's official blog, The Double-A Zone. We feel that this post is especially relevant in light of last week's heartbreaking loss to the Lobos. There are probably fans who may not attend another football game this season simply because the Aggies lost to the Lobos. We hope that's not your case. Please take a moment to read Mr. Smith's post, hopefully you'll gain some insight into what makes college sports so great. And if you are one of those people who are thinking about skipping out on Saturday's game whether its the early kickoff or because they Aggies lost to their in-state rivals, we hope you'll reconsider and give the football team the support they deserve.
As I was driving from South Bend to Chicago Saturday night after attending the Notre Dame football game, I flipped on my radio and searched around the AM channels looking for a college football game to listen to.
After a few minutes, I landed on a channel and was immediately surprised by two things - I was picking up an Atlanta station carrying the Georgia radio network and Alabama was leading the Bulldogs, 31-0, at halftime.
Yes, I was stunned that Alabama was embarrassing Georgia on its home field. I didn't see that coming at all.
But what shocked me more was the dialogue that was occurring between the Georgia announcers. They were talking about the standing ovations that the Georgia fans were giving the team as they went into and came out of the halftime locker room. According to one announcer, he had never been so proud of the Georgia fans in all his years of broadcasting Bulldogs games.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
How could the Georgia fans actually give their team that kind of positive support when they just played arguably the worst half of football in the school's history?
And then I started thinking about it. This is what college sports should be all about. Ultimately, the student-athletes are competing on the field as hard as they possibly can, and they deserve the support of the fans no matter if their team wins or loses.
Too often, fans expect perfection from the student-athletes. College sports aren't the pros. The student-athletes aren't making a living for their performance, and fans need to remember that. Student-athletes are competing foremost for the love of their sport, and as 18-22 year olds, they don't deserve the ridicule that they often receive from fans.
Apparently, the standing ovations weren't shown or talked about much on the game's national television broadcast. That's too bad because the entire country should have been able to see how classy the Georgia fans were on this night.
The Bulldogs were able to gain momentum and make it a contest in the second half. Perhaps the support the team received from the fans helped the comeback efforts.
Fans all over the country should learn from the Bulldog faithful. As long as the team is competing hard, it is the responsibility of the fans to treat their student-athletes in the same positive manner, no matter if they are winning or losing by 30 points.