As a frequenter of UNB sporting events, both varsity and club, I am always excited to see a large student turnout, be it in a “student section” or just sprinkled throughout the audience. It reminds our campus, our teams and our city that students have that UNB spirit even after the fireworks of O-Week have faded.
However, there seems to be a slip in UNB spirit, especially at these sporting events. A few years ago, a club started on campus called the Red Brigade. Their goal was to get students out to sporting events, have a great time, and support our teams. However, it takes more than a brigade to win a war.
This battle is that of student spirit at UNB, more specifically at UNB sporting events. I could go into the lack of red and black clothing during UNB’s “Wear UNB Wednesdays,” but let’s start with sporting events. Aside from hockey, the average UNB student can probably count the amount of university sporting events they’ve attended on one hand. Be it the miserable weather, lack of promotion, or lack of school spirit, the student fan-base which once dominated an arena, a field or a court has begun to slip away.
We look at schools near us, such as Mount Allison, and their sporting events emblazoned with gold and burgundy, as if we were in some J.K. Rowling fantasy. The crowd cheers and the colours soar, while down the road, the bleachers at UNB are bare, filled with more cameras than students.
It is time that UNB, these club and varsity sports, as well as the students themselves, look at our campus and our school spirit and rise up. Wear your red and black, take two hours of your evening or weekend and go to your favorite sporting event, or try watching a new one.
And to you, UNB, start promoting sports like they are the pinnacle of the week. We speak of breaks and stress-relievers; why not push the atmosphere and fun that a sporting event could be? Let’s fill our recruiting guides with students at games and students smiling in a library.
If none of this works, then maybe we should take a step back, take a deep breath, and figure out what the fuck a Varsity Red really is.
Andrew Martel is the Business Manager of the Brunswickan.