I'm not tired of hearing the excuses. In fact, I would like to hear a few just so I can understand the prevailing thinking of the Maryland student body and the Maryland fan base.
What am I referring to? This. This is a photo from my seat at last night's game at Comcast. It was a normal Tuesday night. It was a 7pm game, NOT a 9p game. It was NOT during winter break. It was NOT during finals week. It was NOT a cupcake non-ACC game. This photo captures the game atmosphere at the 7:59 minute mark in the 1st half of an ACC game.
Last night was our last scheduled game against one of the Tobacco Road 4. And this is the turnout? Let me be the first to offer my disgust. People spend a bunch of time talking about "Maryland Pride". "I'm Gary Williams, and I have Maryland Pride!." Last night there weren't even enough students in the building to do the flag presentation down the student wall. There was not enough pride to showcase our "Pride".
I will give a pass to the students for not showing up during winter break games. The campus is empty. It makes sense that the University sells much of the student section to the general public. I do not, however, give the students a pass for apathy to the other games. In-conference or out-of-conference, where are the students? Of the 37,000+ enrollment for this academic year, barely 1,000 bother to support the team. All year they have been largely absent. Even when in the building, I normally can hear each head coach's voice from my seat in the upper deck during the game. That is great home court advantage.
When did College Park become filled with such a fair weather fan base? When did it become acceptable for fans to get super excited about new uniforms yet act as if no one can be bothered to watch people wear those very uniforms? Would there have been more students at the game if Mitchell's shot at Duke had been 1" in the other direction? Would this have brought the fans out?
I have been a season ticket holder for 8 years and have made every game save 1 or 2 each year. Our fan base seems to have apathy spreading like a contagious virus. Last night it seemed to hit rock bottom.
In comparison, I was able to travel to UVA last week for Maryland's last trip there. Here is the view of the stands 10 minutes BEFORE tipoff. The student section is full. Many of the season ticket holders are in their seats. This was a 9pm game.
I understand that UVA is having a great season this year. Point taken. But should that be an excuse? Could people say: "If Maryland was 12-1 in the ACC, we would be at the games early too." Could that really be an excuse that has merit? If so, we are simply proving the fair-weather attitude of the current fan base.
I'm more than disappointed. I know that this little post is not going to revolutionize our fans. I know that this little post is not going to, all of the sudden, make people care. I know that winning spawns excitement and excitement spawns greater game atmosphere. However, this team is 7-7 in the ACC so far. They are NOT terrible. MD is not the Houston Astros or the Jacksonville Jaguars of NCAA Basketball. We have a good team, and a great history. Someone once told me that Maryland has a "Proud Past" and a "Fearless Future".
That attitude and the coined "Maryland Pride" should be an attitude that goes farther than just loving the red, black, white, and gold. It should continue as support of the students who actually wear and represent those colors. I simply beg all of us to show more pride than this: