By Alexander Cole
As a student sports journalist who covers the CIS teams here at Concordia, I hear a lot of people tell me that they simply don’t care about the teams here.
The reasons people give me for their overall apathy towards the Stingers and any other campus sports team usually boils down to three factors. The first factor being, “Well they always lose so what is there to care about,” the second being, “Who cares about the CIS, it’s not the NCAA,” and the third is, “it’s boring.”
Let me just start off by saying that if you believe any of that to be true, you are truly ignorant about CIS sports and how entertaining they really are. I’ll be honest, at first I was skeptical of how good CIS sports could be. In the media, they barely get any exposure when compared to their U.S. counterpart, the NCAA. Even TSN shows more NCAA highlights than they do CIS. While there are a few reasons for that, such as the lack of televised events, one could still get the wrong impression.
My attitude completely changed when I covered my first Stingers football game. The Stingers were playing the Carabins from Université de Montreal, who just came off of a Vanier Cup victory. The Stingers lost 41-29, but it was one of the most entertaining football matches I had seen in my life. The pace was quick. Touchdowns were being scored consistently and the level of play was extraordinary.
Writers and other people I have talked to who have actually gone to see the Stingers play, no matter the sport, have told me how surprised they were by how high the level of play was.
Yet those who haven’t taken in a game still remain cynical.
This is especially true when it comes to fellow sports journalists who don’t want to cover games because they don’t care enough about the Stingers. They see it as a waste of their time when, in reality, covering the CIS is a wonderful opportunity that can open up so many doors for you.
It is baffling to me that in an institution such as a university, where everyone is an adult, people still have childish views when it comes to their sports teams. CIS athletes work just as hard as any. They have to take the same amount of classes as the rest of us. They have to do all the same assignments as us. Except, they also have to go to practice, play games and deal with the pressures of competing.
The idea that our teams always lose is simply a myth. The men’s basketball team went on a seven-game winning streak recently. Our hockey teams are going to be in the playoffs. The football team has made the playoffs the last two seasons now and the women’s rugby team made it to Nationals. This idea that we always lose, is completely unfounded.
I think that people forget sometimes that student athletes aren’t just machines that are a part of some brand. They are students and people just like the rest of us.
You don’t have to show up to every game or buy all of the merchandise but at least have a little pride in your school. These athletes bust their ass to represent Concordia and it’s discouraging when you hear so many people be dismissive of the Stingers and the CIS in general.