Wednesday, October 17, 2012

0 Vandy fans should be excited

By Jason McDonald

James Franklin went out on a limb and maybe even made himself look silly by stating that he was educating Vanderbilt fans on how to be excited. But he’s right. Many Vandy fans need to learn how to get excited. You might ask what’s there to be excited about with a 2-4 record? The answer is plenty. Their losses have come against some stiff competition in Florida (2), South Carolina (7), Georgia (11), and Northwestern, whose only loss has come against Penn State. And they competed with all of them with the exception of getting blown out by Georgia.

They’ve sold out two back-to-back games for the first time in 16-years. Sure there are a lot of opposing fans traveling in for the game, but believe it or not, that’s still a good sign. It’s a sign that other fans are expecting to see a good game, and so far they have. Vandy is putting the pieces together. They are establishing new mottos, they’re investing the money into new facilities, and a new HD JumboTron for the stadium. They are putting more effort into building the program for success. These are some bare essentials that other teams have taken for granted for a long time. What other teams have also been able to take for granted is the fan support.

Other SEC schools have built-in fan bases. They’re massive schools build upon in-state student bodies. Their student body is less than half the size of Tennessee or Alabama, and their alumni are less likely to remain in the state. So filling a stadium is a little more difficult. That being said, the students have to show up. The student section needs to be loud and obnoxious. They have to remind visiting fans that Vanderbilt Stadium isn’t home to Florida or Georgia. Of course if Vanderbilt wins, people will come. As the saying goes, winning is a cure all. But support and success go hand-in-hand.

Vanderbilt has shown measureable success and this warrants the growing support in the stands. Contrary to what some are thinking, people are showing up. I was at the opening game against South Carolina, and for the most part it was packed and rowdy crowd (minus the couple sitting in front of me playing Words with Friends). They came for a good game and they got one. Vandy fans have an opportunity to see some of the best teams in football come through their town for a relatively cheap price. If you’re a student who cares anything at all about the game, there’s no reason not to go and get loud. Of course they don’t need James Franklin telling them how to act, they should know this already. If they don’t, there’s no time like the present to learn.

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