Peter Boettger | staff columnist
Oct. 21, 2021
As a part of the production team for the Athletic Department this semester and after covering four soccer games, two volleyball games and two football games; I’ve seen a lot of great moments.
One of those games, for football, came down to an official’s review in the last seconds of the game. But looking around, I have been asking myself a question recently — where’s the spirit?
Duquesne isn’t some major college with 20,000 plus students, but you’d think that when the football team gets its first FBS win in school history, there’d be more enthusiasm within the student population, right? Wrong.
As a witness of the crowd at the back-and-forth game between Bryant and Duquesne, it was dead, and I swear my high school averages more fans than we do.
But it’s not just football. Our men’s soccer team is also undefeated at home. Doesn’t that make you want to go to a football or soccer game and watch our team continue this victory streak on the Bluff?
The student body and players alike need to spread the word about our wins. Tell your roommate, your friends, parents, siblings, dog — everyone. Game after game the metal stands are less than a quarter full, and the stands by A-Walk are practically empty.
For our women’s soccer team, we’re 4-2-1 at home. Not to mention, the one loss at home versus UMass went into overtime, and the game-winning goal narrowly escaped the goalie’s reach.
As a cameraman during that game, the game versus the Minutewomen was the best Duquesne soccer game I’ve been to. So what’s the problem?
The first thing to cover about the withering spirit of Duquesne sports is the students. Why aren’t we showing up? Sophomores Juan Carujo and Emily Makarewicz shared their opinions.
Both students admitted they haven’t attended any sporting events on campus, and aren’t exactly intrigued by our teams’ successes.
When it comes to persuading students to go to games, Carujo feels a “greater emphasis on sports, or perhaps a sense of community of people going to sports games [would help]. It feels like we need a culture here for me to get behind.”
According to the university’s enrollment data, there are 8,367 students total, including part-time undergraduate and graduate students, yet the football team’s Instagram account only has a following of 3,333 (as of Oct. 19). And some of those followers may be faculty, alumni or even parents.
Carujo admits that he doesn’t follow any of the teams, but instead looks for results on the unsponsored Barstool Instagram account. On the other hand, Makarewicz follows scores closely.
“I do follow most of the teams actually, like football, basketball, women’s soccer, rowing and swimming,” Makarewicz said. “I don’t think anything would change my mind [about attending], maybe advertising. That’s mainly because I don’t know when games are.”
But there’s plenty of reasons why students should attend and ways the university can bump up attendance. First and foremost, all games — no matter the sport — are free for students.
There’s also the Red & Blue Crew. The spirit-focused club was very underwhelming in numbers in the competitive game against Bryant, not to mention they’re underwhelming on social media.
On Instagram, to be more specific, while they have 963 followers, an Instagram account about the squirrels on campus has over 1,500 followers. A Duquesne meme account has over 1,100 followers.
As for the university, there’s a lot of blank walls to stare at when walking around campus. How much effort does it take to hang-up a poster?
Perhaps to make it interactive, the first 100 students to scan a QR code on the poster could get a deal off of merchandise, or their names could be put in a raffle for a better seat if a certain game is held at UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.
But the biggest thing for us is to start recognizing and supporting our teams and their success. The school year is still only in the beginning phase, and there are many sports to support as we progress into the winter and spring months. Until then, it’s time for students to support our fall sports as they near the end of their seasons.
First, men’s soccer. We’re undefeated at home games this year and we should cheer on the soccer team to continue our streak. The last two home games are on Oct. 23 against UMass (7 p.m.) and Oct. 26 against Wright State (7 p.m.).
For football, the Dukes have maintained a winning record since 2012. We’re currently on a four-game winning streak and we’re also first overall in our conference. Do I have to add that we made it to the conference championship last year? The last two home games are on Oct. 30 against St. Francis (3 p.m.) and Nov. 13 against Central Connecticut (12 p.m.).
Finally, women’s soccer. As of Oct. 19, we have an overall losing record of 4-8-2; However, all of those wins have happened at home games. Be sure to cheer on the women’s soccer team Oct. 21 against George Washington (7 p.m.).
But Duquesne spirit doesn’t only apply to sports; it applies to everything that is a part of the Duquesne community. Whether it’s the student radio station, webinars, panels or the Red Masquers, we should support fellow students and cultivate a college community worth bragging about.
The radio station is available to stream online. Duquesne Student TV is busy live-streaming on their YouTube channel and setting up their brand new broadcast center in the Union, and Duquesne’s Red Masquers have a play called Psycho Beach Party running until Oct. 23rd.
Soon it might smell like Duquesne spirit on campus, and our clubs, sports and events are here to entertain us.