One year ago, I asked the question on my Facebook account: Jake Ryle thinks you should root for the sports' programs at the University you attend (or something along those lines). The response was overwhelming. Over 150 comments, and a debate that seemed to never end.
ARU is going to attempt to stay out of the madness that is: The Ultimate Question. Instead, we’ve asked people from both sides of the spectrum to give us their opinion on why they cheer for the team(s) that they do. This is—your take.
Clay Seal: TNJN.com Sports Editor (University of Tennessee)
…In my mind, you are aloud to have two schoosl to root for in your state as long as they are not in the same city and they are not arch-rivals. Home is home. (Also) I think you’re allowed to root for teams if you’ve got friends there and they don’t conflict with your university or the ones in your state you root for…I’m not a fan of people arbitrarily picking California teams when they’re from Minnesota…
Clay brings a unique perspective on the situation, bringing in geographical location to the equation for who you can cheer for. This geographical affiliation also can be seen in the simple fact that he doesn’t believe you should be able to cheer for a team that’s located so far away from you.
How often have you seen people wearing “Texas” or “USC” hats/apparel? His point in a nutshell.
These next two individuals believe that you can cheer for two different schools…under one condition.
Josh Wiseman: WKU 2012, Zoology Major
…No problem with it as long as your cheer for your own school in a game between the two.
Ryan Martin: WKU 2014, Athletic Training Major
Well, I think that if you were born and raised a fan of one school but you go to another, it’s OK to cheer for both. However, if the two are playing each other, you should cheer for the one you go to.
Both Josh and Ryan bring valid arguments to the table. One has to question where the line is crossed for when a team is successful, and when a team is struggling. How much can winning really push the envelope on who you cheer for, though?
Brian Smith: University of Louisville 2012, Exercise Science Major
I’m fine with it. I go to Louisville, and I’m a huge Kansas fan! So I have no problem with it unless you go to Louisville and like UK…then I have a problem!
The UK/UofL rivalry is one of the most well known in college sports. For someone to wear a UK shirt on Louisville’s campus would almost automatically put them in them in the doghouse. So if someone steps up and wears a UK shirt on UofL’s campus, does this mean they have more testicular fortitude? Maybe there’s more to look at?
Nick Morgan: WKU 2011, Broadcast News Major
To an extent, I think it’s understandable to have students cheer for other universities as long as it doesn’t have a negative effect on WKU. My big problem comes from the WKU students who publicly support a team that the Tops are playing. I remember the week before the UK game, I saw a bunch of UK shirts and apparel on campus worn by our students. And at the actual game, I saw a great deal of our students cheering for UK…basically against their own school. When that happens, I have a problem with it
Certainly each individual has a right to freedom of expression. However, the reasons for cheering on a different university, even when playing your respective university would almost seem to lie on a bandwagon/success motive. One has to question how deep of a motive that might be?
Would you rather cheer for a team that might struggle a bit, but be proud of their accomplishments; or, cheer for a team that has followers spanning across the country? Each has its own pro’s and con’s.
Some, though, choose to go to a University for its academic programs—NOT for its athletics department. Is this a valid argument in the ultimate sports debate?
Whether it be academics, athletics, tuition, location, the dining, or whatever the reason, the bottom line is you CHOSE to come to WKU. Everyone has different reasons for coming here, but EVERY student represents the school.I think as representatives of the university, you should support it in whatever capacity you can. Athletics is just one of those capacities
For various reasons, the next interviewee wished to remain anonymous. All that I’m willing to say is that the individual attends WKU, and is not me.
I’ve grown up my whole life watching/living/ breathing louisville sports. It has honestly become a family affair because it is a bond that we all share and time that we all set apart to be with each other, cheering on the team. My Granddad helped the University way back in the day when it was still very young in terms of its sports program and helped them develop marketing strategies in combination with his company. He enjoyed cheering for them as they took on all the top college powers head on. I was born the day of the U of L/Alabama Fiesta Bowl, a game my dad had tickets to but had to miss because I was going to be born.
This certainly characterized an incredible bond that the individual had with the University of Louisville. This person would later go on to say:
I love WKU sports and have been cheering for them for several years, since I first began thinking about going to WKU and my dad having been a student at WKU. I do try to wear less U of L gear around campus because I feel that I am insulting a team and university that I love…I understand people getting upset with my fanhood for U of L but I dont think that it is fair to be upset if I keep UL out of my WKU circle of fanhood.
What people don’t realize is that my love for UL has been almost 20 years of living and dying with every play, reading blogs, and taping games; it has evolved to a sort of family ritual that I so look forward to that to deny that would be to deny a part of myself that makes me feel alive and passionate. My love for WKU needs not to be questioned as I love my Hilltoppers and will cheer for them for the rest of my life. What more can a man want than to have TWO great teams to cheer for?
Maybe the best kind of fan lies in their respect towards other Institutions—rather than with how loud they cheer for their own.
I’m a firm believer that it’s certainly easier to cheer for a team when they’re succeeding; but I also believe that the measurement of a fan’s loyalty lies in how they react, act, and respond towards a failure (or multiple failures).
As for me? My parents both attended the University of Kentucky. My dad played baseball first for Lipscomb College (now, University), and transferred after winning a NAIA National Championship there in 1979. My mom was the bat-girl for the Wildcat baseball team. Enough said.
I attend WKU. That’s where my loyalty lies toward my fan-hood. I like it this way.
At one point in time, I rejected any other opinion towards this issue other than my own. I think it’s certainly feasible to now agree that the best way to agree is to disagree. While it’s easy to root for your team, and against your rivals, we will all at one point come to one conclusion.
It’s just a game.