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Away Games Take Their Toll on Fordham
Fordham’s Few Home Games Hurt Athletic Enthusiasm, Forces Fans to Go the Extra Miles
Crowds tend to be larger at home games, and having more away games hurts already-lacking sports enthusiasm.
When you read the original article there will be a small, italicized sentence telling you my name, major and the state from which I moved to come to Fordham. That state is South Carolina, home to two teams in major NCAA football conferences: the University of South Carolina, whose Gamecocks play in the Southeastern Conference and who have recently received some national championship contender consideration, and Clemson University, whose Tigers are members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Football, especially at the prep and collegiate levels, is a celebratory affair below the Mason-Dixon Line. The pageantry of an afternoon tailgate featuring barbeque, beanbag toss and, my personal favorite, beautiful women in flowing sundresses, is one of the aspects I miss most about living in the South.
Having come to Fordham, situated in a city where football fields are scarce by necessity and where professional football reigns supreme, I was not expecting a direct translation of Dixie football, mainly because sundresses are impractical in sub-freezing temperatures. Nonetheless, it was disappointing to scroll through Fordham’s football schedule earlier this year and find that we are hosting only four home games this season.
Even though we play in the Patriot League of the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA, it should not be the case that we only have four home appearances as opposed to seven games played away from Jack Coffey Field. For a school that boasts about the Seven Blocks of Granite from the annals of Fordham history, it seems a shame to write off any hope in a season by taking away any kind of home-field advantage.
The school could use a little more enthusiasm for its athletics department, being that our major men’s sports have gone pretty much idle for a long time. Save for John Skelton’s place on the Arizona Cardinals, the football team has lacked relevance for a long time. The men’s basketball team, which went winless in the Atlantic-10 Conference for almost two entire seasons from 2008-09 through last year, has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1992 and has not won a game in the tournament since defeating the aforementioned South Carolina Gamecocks in 1971.
One game that should prove to be a fun time for most will be Columbia’s visit to Fordham for Homecoming weekend on Sept. 17, in the annual battle for the Liberty Cup. Fordham has won the last two meetings in the rivalry. We can only hope that the winning trend continues this season, as it is always a good time to shove victory in the face of the first-ranked research institution in the United States as well as its prominent alumni, among them President Barack Obama, Warren Buffet and the sweater-wearing faux hipsters in Vampire Weekend.
All told, it would benefit the University to schedule, or at least to attempt to schedule, more home fixtures in future seasons. It may benefit the football team themselves as well. We can joke about the impact of home-field advantage during a rout like University of Connecticut Huskies’ 35-3 season-opening victory over the Rams, but who is to say that Fordham’s student body would not have willed a win had we played the game in the Bronx? Schedule 11 home games next year, put the girls in sundresses in the middle of November and make everyone happy.
By RORY MASTERSON, Fordham University Ram