The sports program at UC Irvine is nuts. Let’s just say it. This program is one of the best in the country. We get more bang for our buck than 95 percent of the schools in the country. Why? It is because we have tremendous athletes and a constantly rising level of success with a decently small budget.
However, as far as the outside community is concerned, we are nothing special because we do not have a football team. Who cares? The idea of getting a football team is just not financially feasible at our school, and as a campus we need to release those doubts that our sports are not up to par with sports at other schools.
Two years ago, we were the number one “non-football” school in the nation and last year we ranked fifth. In 2007, we had the most success out of any school without a football team in our combined sports programs and are continuing to grow. We have 23 teams in all, and every one of them is well respected on a national level, yet some students still do not pay attention.
It is now time for those teams to be respected on a total campus level. It is time to stop listening to skeptics, take hold of our athletics and take pride in how they do. We are cheering for good teams, my people. It is not a struggle to get excited about these teams anymore.
Think about this. UCI has accumulated 25 national championships and 59 conference championships in its total history. We have had over 240 All-Americans with 20 of them receiving that huge honor in the last three years of competition. Forty-four Irvine athletes have competed in the Olympic Games with six receiving gold medals, 12 silver and one bronze. That, my friends, is something to be proud of.
The fact of the matter is, our sports programs are something to be reckoned with, and as a student body we should be overly excited about our athletes. According to the sports department, the Completely Insane Anteaters (CIA) has over 4,000 members. That’s a pretty good number, but not if the school has over 20,000 students enrolled. There are at least 5,000 other students that know and love sports that are not even on the e-mailing list of the campus’ sports fan base club.
So what is the solution to that problem? Well, this publication is a start.
My man The Oracle and I are dedicated to bringing the week’s top sports stories and features to every student on campus who wants the information.
This year will also be a big year for the athletic department and ASUCI as they combine efforts to attract any number of students and transform them into dedicated fans.
A huge part must also come from the athletes themselves and their ability to be successful this year. It is always easier to cheer for a winning team.
Yet, most of all for our campus to be able to make that full transition into a sports school, the students have to back the sports no matter what.
This is our school and they are our peers in the game, representing our colors and our name.
The student body needs to embrace these athletes and support them. Whether you are a first year or a fourth year who has never been to a game, now is just as good a time as any.
Lastly, as for our Anteater faithful, who have been to numerous events and supported our teams throughout the years keep it going! Get the people around you into that same fan mindset and it will only be a matter of time until they are shouting and pouting at games right next to you.
The bottom line is this: our school has some great athletes competing against much more prominent sports schools.
UCI is becoming a dominant force in all 23 of our sports, giving our campus huge potential to become a sports-crazed school.
But don’t take my word for it. Next time you see an athlete on campus, just stop him or her and ask them a few questions about the sport they play. I guarantee you will be impressed.
Don’t believe the hype; believe the Hypothesis.