Mitch’s Pitch: A Little Respect: S’il Vous Plait
It’s my last week as sports editor. I have mixed feelings, but I won’t get into those because you could probably care less about how I feel.
However, you should know that I’m not the only one with conflicted thoughts right now. The St. John’s athletic community, at this very moment, is doing its best to digest that, once again, the women’s basketball team has outshined this University’s hardwood heroes; aka Steve Lavin’s men’s basketball team (and please don’t bring up Sir’Dom’s buzzer beater.
It was the NIT, man. Kudos to Dom, though. ‘Twas a beautiful shot).
While the men’s team lost their top scorer and five straight games until Dom’s LeBron-esque moment (yeah, I said LeBron, not MJ), the women have won eight of their last ten, all despite being without one of their most influential veteran players, senior Eugeneia McPherson, who suffered an ACL tear in November.
But what does this mean for St. John’s? How is the University community supposed to react to success and failure when they intertwine so perfectly?
It’s obvious that men’s basketball is the main priority on this campus, but does the sustained success of the women’s program signal that there should be a bit more parity when comparing the two teams, or should we just sit on the sidelines of the NCAA Tournament for a couple of weeks, applaud Joe Tartamella and his team’s success, then focus our attention back to the men and Lavin’s recruiting pursuits once March is over?
Some say we should – but I don’t agree.
There’s a very fine line here. Unless the women’s program wins three straight national championships, men’s basketball will
continue to rule St. John’s. And even if the women pull off a miraculous three-peat at some point in the near future, the men’s program will still receive more attention from media and fans alike.
There has to be a way to achieve a sustained support system for women’s basketball other than the many, but short-lived congratulatory messages they receive each year they qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
But how do we achieve sustained support when society states that men’s sports take priority over women’s? Yeah, it’s a sobering truth – so how do we sidestep the issue?
Well, the first step is simply choosing to go out support the team. Slide off your couch, put on that trusty old red St. John’s t-shirt you got orientation week of your freshman year and take that ten-minute walk to Carnesecca Arena.
They say the first step is the hardest, so once you physically get yourself to the game, the toughest part is over – at that point, when you’re inside the comfy confines of the arena, everything will come together. I mean, you’ll be at an NCAA tournament game, for the love of Manchester United! If you can’t get hyped up for that, you’re not a sports fan.
Once you’re at the game, the rest is up to the team. But think about it: more fans=a better atmosphere. A better atmosphere=more adrenaline for the players to run on. More adrenaline for the players to run on=a better performance. A better performance=victory, sweet victory.
It’s simple math, people (not that I’m good at math or anything) – the more fans that show up to Carnesecca Arena on Sunday will increase the team’s chances of winning. And what increases fandom more than winning? Absolutely nothing.
When’s the next time we’ll see one of our basketball teams play on campus in the NCAA Tournament? Maybe never!
At this point, you should check your opinions at the doors of the arena, pop a squat in a red seat and enjoy watching history.
You’ve got one life, man (and woman)! Go and support Tartamella and co. on Sunday. And maybe, just maybe, the support you show this weekend will help generate more of the respect that a team that has reached four consecutive NCAA Tournaments deserves.