Chase Says: where is the love for less popular sports

By on January 11, 2013

With a combined undergraduate/graduate  population of just over 18,000 students UAB boasts a number of athletic activities and events for both students and alumni in an effort to build community spirit and school pride.

Some of these events are traditional sporting contests (i.e. football, baseball, and basketball) however there are a number of non-traditional sports supported by UAB’s athletic department that rarely  get any recognition even though many of our fellow student athletes compete at a high level in national competitions.

I myself have been guilty of ignorance concerning how UAB is represented and ranked in the world of collegiate sports with comparison to other universities—including our Conference USA peers—when it comes to less popular sports.

Sure, everyone has heard by now about UAB’s Basketball team and it’s storied past, as well as the recent success of our Men’s soccer team and the heat being generated by the football teams new head coach, but what most people do not realize is that due to the title IX rule of collegiate sports we have more women’s sports programs than we do men’s sports teams but we rarely ever hear about them.

Why is this?  Is it because the “lesser known” sports programs do not win games?  Certainly not, some of our men’s and most notably our women’s teams have walked away with several national awards. Is it because of media coverage? That could have something to do with it. Back before people received their news via a twitter or an Internet, writers at local papers only covered stories they thought were important or that people wanted to hear about and there weren’t nearly as many programs to cover as there are now. However, I doubt that this is the underlying cause.  Could it be the popularity of the games themselves, maybe the teams playing aren’t that exciting to watch or could it simply be the interest level of the spectator not knowing much about the game, the rules, and he or she probably doesn’t have a vested interest one way or the other in the outcome so he or she asks themselves why watch?  What’s the point?

Its been my experience that the  people who go around always asking “what’s the point” are the same people who have problems in other areas of their lives as they lull themselves into complacency by being too afraid to branch out and try something they have limited experience with.

The point is the experience. The point is learning something new. The point is stepping outside of your comfort zone and opening your mind to the numerous opportunities and possibilities that reside outside of our small circle of friends, associates and family.

In addition to the Men’s Basketball, football, baseball, soccer, golf and tennis programs the Blazers athletic departments hosts twice as many women’s programs.

The UAB Women’s Basketball team (who is currently having one of it’s best seasons in program history) has had some of the most exciting games  at Bartow Arena that I have seen from any team in recent history. UAB also has a Cross Country team, Track team, both indoor Volleyball and Sand Volleyball teams, and a Softball team. In addition to women’s Tennis, Soccer, Rifle, Golf, and bowling teams.

While several of the programs do not have open events where students can attend, how often do we attend the ones that do?  How much do you know about what your athletic classmates are involved with?  Why are you so bored all of the time?

The next time you find yourself planning out your week log on to uabsports.com or from a copy of the Kaleidescope, plan to attend an event that you have never gone to before. Preferably one of the “lesser known” events just for the experience.  You may find out that you really enjoy it.

Chase Coleman
Senior Staff Writer
chascoleman@uab.edu

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