Support the basketball teams, because journalists cannot

There is no room for fanhood in sports journalism.

Hearing this statement for what seems like the billionth time feels like a sharp pain to my side. It’s like heartburn,
or a migraine.

It’s the statement I’ve heard at every step of my journalism career; from sitting in my guidance counselor’s office in high school to my first days as a Torch reporter to last week in my sports writing class.

There is no room for fanhood in sports journalism.

For someone whose life-goal entering college was to write about the New York Yankees for the rest of his life, I’m still
having trouble wrapping my head around the concept, especially after they won their 27th World championship last week. My days cheering on the only thing in my life I have ever truly loved are numbered. My career goal is a blessing and a curse. My
fanhood has a shelf life.

For the last year and a half, I’ve sublimated for this future by writing about
St. John’s basketball for this
publication, almost exclusively,
immersing myself in all things
Big East conference.

The difference here, and quite possibly what makes me successful as a St. John’s writer, is that I can honestly say that I am not a St. John’s hoopsfan. I’ve covered the team somuch that any personal affiliations are gone.

But St. John’s fans, you are not journalists like me. You are what you are – fans. And whether the memo is sitting on my desk or still waiting unread in your inboxes, you can show fanhood toward
St. John’s hoops.

And if you don’t, you
definitely should.

A new season is about to come upon us, one that has the programs über-excited to begin. The men’s team may be deeper than ever, with versatility at nearly every position on the floor and a new up-tempo-style offense that should excite even the most casual basketball fan. The women’s team returns four starters – including last year’s Big East Freshman of the Year – and welcomes a recruiting class that was nationally ranked.

I need you to do your part, St. John’s fans, not as someone cheering from the press box – someone I am not – but as a St. John’s student. Last year, I was witness to two of the most embarrassing showings of St. John’s pride in recent school history.

At the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, Red Storm fans were vastly
outnumbered by the sea of Marquette fans that traveled from Wisconsin to watch their men’s team go to battle. The fact that the St. John’s community was on Spring Break, to me, is irrelevant. St. John’s is still known as a commuter school, and the Garden is only a handful of subway stops away.

Later on, the women’s team reached the third round of the WNIT Tournament and earned a home game against
Boston College. The turnout from Red Storm fans was slightly more impressive, but the showmanship was not, as three Eagles fans were easily louder than both partially-filled student sections.

The Red Storm lost both games.

College sports are supposed to unify student bodies, but for this student body, two other recent events did a better job
of bringing the school together.

Last November, Barack Obama’s presidential election resulted in massive gatherings of resident students outside the halls and on the Great Lawn. Nearly a year later, a parade of students marched around campus, celebrating the Yankees’ 27th championship into the wee hours of the morning.

I’m afraid that even if a St. John’s athletic program were to win a major championship, the achievement wouldn’t receive nearly the same amount of attention. At other schools, titles would start riots.

I don’t understand how a student body can feel such a connection toward a
president they’ll never meet and a team other than one at their own school.

Fact is, I’ve seen the St. John’s student body unite and show its passion. What I don’t understand is how that same student body can turn its back on the athletic endeavors of peers. I don’t understand how a student body can lose its fanhood. Maybe I never will.

But then again, I’m just a journalist. And there is no room for fanhood in sports journalism.