By: Duke Staff
“Well, I would go to Duquesne games if our teams actually won every once in awhile.”
If you’re part of the Duquesne community, it is likely that you’ve heard some variation of this excuse before. It’s no secret that Duquesne’s school spirit is sadly lacking, and game attendance is pathetically poor.
But the time for excuses is over. With its recent bid to the NCAA tournament, the Duquesne women’s basketball team has shown that this university has sports worth celebrating. Now, it is our responsibility as the students, faculty and alumni of Duquesne to give our athletes the love they deserve.
Duquesne Director of Basketball Operations Melissa Franko told The Duke that students need to open their eyes to the success of Duquesne’s teams instead of focusing on past failures.
We agree wholeheartedly. Several teams have brought home championships or league titles to the Bluff in the past few years, but they weren’t met with any gratitude. Just this fall, Duquesne’s football team was the NEC conference champion, women’s soccer won the Atlantic 10 championship, and women’s swimming had their best all-time finish in the conference. The men’s basketball team competed in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational on Wednesday night.
There’s plenty to cheer for on campus, and it’s disappointing to go to a women’s basketball game and find the pep band outnumbering the fans two-to-one.
Supporting Duquesne’s teams means a lot to the players, Franko said. Studies have shown that teams perform better when there are bodies in the stands, and that comes as no surprise. Sure, we can’t expect to start something like the Oakland Zoo because our student body isn’t that big. But go to a school like St. Bonaventure, which is similar to Duquesne in size, and you’ll find that they pack the house for every basketball game.
When the women’s team competed in the University of New Mexico Thanksgiving tournament, they performed “like crazy” because of the large crowd, even though it wasn’t pro-Duquesne, Franko said. It’s a shame they haven’t been able to feel that way at the Palumbo Center.
The fact that our sports teams perform better when they have people cheering against them rather than when they play at home to empty seats should embarrass us. Although it’s too late to watch any women’s home games this season, Franko said the Duquesne community can still show its support to the team.
“Just post about us, share things on social media, get the word out there,” Franko said. “Show the team that even if you can’t be with them [at the tournament] in Connecticut, you care.”