One Year Later

No, I'm not talking about the election.

Photo by Yanxing Dang

Listen, I know my audience. I know my supporters are few and far between; maybe I’ll even get a little hate mail. But that won’t stop me — indeed, I doubt anything could dissuade me — from understanding that basketball is implicitly more fun to watch than football. 

Think about it — the plays happen in the blink of an eye. It’s fast-paced. For every mundane two-point shot, there’s a breakaway or a layup, or a stolen ball. It’s rare that the stakes aren’t high, since both teams could steal the win at any second. It’s body to body, one-on-one. The plays are more like guidelines; the players do most of their work creatively, impromptu, as a team. And no one does that work better than our reigning National Champions, the Women’s Basketball team. 

In the coming months, I wanted to remind the student body of what the atmosphere was like during our season, especially during the final game against Mississippi. Students were hype for months — until the men started performing as well. Suddenly, attendance and interest dropped, and even when the men’s team lost out, the momentum never truly came back. 

This was my personal experience. I don’t know what the Women’s Basketball team’s win over Mississippi was like in Columbia’s bars, or in student apartment complexes, or in residence halls where I didn’t live. 

What I do know is that when the buzzer sounded and the game ended, my roommates and I screamed and hugged each other to a silent hall. When we ran down the hallway to the staircase, we saw students studying alone or in groups, just like any Sunday. When we reached the fountain in front of Thomas Cooper, there were less than a hundred students celebrating. 

Sure, there are dozens of factors that may have contributed to the dull atmosphere on campus. But none seem to overshadow the fact that women’s basketball — women’s sports everywhere — don’t garner the same hype that men’s sports do. 

Fellow Gamecocks, where, if not here, will women’s basketball be given the recognition it deserves? Dawn Staley has proved, over and over, that her team deserved the National Championship title. We’re a winning team. We’ve got the highest average attendance in the nation for women’s basketball. In the stands and on Twitter, USC students go all out for our women’s team. It’s common knowledge that our team is scrappy, hardcore, and determined; we just need to work towards being a fanbase worthy of supporting them. 

And for the fadeaway — thank you to all the students who yelled and waved flags outside of Preston Hall, who bought plane tickets and skipped classes to be there with our girls in Dallas, who jumped into that slimy, cold, bacteria-filled fountain on Sunday night — not with thousands of other students, but alone, in rebellious celebration of our women victorious. 

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