Vassar fans add to athletic atmosphere

The springtime is upon us, or at least it’s supposed to be on paper. The days are still chilly and the nights can get downright freezing in upstate New York, even in late March, but baseball, lacrosse and the rest are already in full swing. New teams are taking the playing field, hoping to build on some of the hard-earned success of teams prior. For us, this means that basketball practices and film sessions and team meetings have been replaced by a whole lot of gaping holes in the schedule—we are still committed to team lifts and individual workouts, but the structure that only the winter season can provide is mostly scrapped for rest and relaxation in some warmer spring weather. With the exception of a few impressive teams still partaking in the Madness of March, basketball has hit a hiatus for the time being. The priority now is recuperation, followed by preparation for another go-around next season.

As such, it seems like the perfect opportunity to thank all of the student-athletes, school administrators, professors and the rest who took some time out of their busy schedules to come out and cheer us on this past season. From the bottom of our hearts, we would just like to emphasize that the fan support did not go unnoticed at all. In truth, it made a pretty successful season from a team standpoint much more satisfying for all of us involved. And for that, we would like to take some time out of our own schedules to pass along some much-deserved thanks. Such memorable support should never go unacknowledged, and it won’t.

In particular, we would like to single out the men’s varsity lacrosse team and all of the other student-athletes who showed up and cheered…that goes for the men’s varsity soccer team and the women’s varsity lacrosse team as well, a whole collection of passionate students-turned-supporters. You guys were great all season long! We know that it can be tough finding time to attend basketball games with so much going on in life—schoolwork, extracurricular activities, internship stuff—and, for that, the support was that much more special. Nobody had to come, and we certainly wouldn’t blame other students if they chose not to, but a lot of people still managed to come regardless.

We built it, and people showed up. What a magical season it was. There’s no greater reward than witnessing some of your hard work pay off.

Playing basketball is one of those things that can only be amplified by a lot of noise and applause and human traffic, much like a rock concert in a stadium. Having a lot of people present makes all of the difference to those competing on the court, who put in long hours day in and day out to (hopefully) put on a good show. That’s not possible if nobody’s even there to watch the show. When others decide to show up, it implies that the men’s varsity basketball team is actually meaningful in some tiny little way—that the way we play actually matters to those in attendance, and it’s not just another unnoticed Division III sporting event in the middle of nowhere.

All season long, we felt like we actually mattered as student-athletes at Vassar. Even walking around campus and going to class was more enjoyable, as a result. We accomplished something, or that’s what it felt like, anyway, and to experience all kinds of people taking note of that accomplishment was surreal at times.

When others give an individual pursuit of yours some deeper meaning, it can be so special. And this past season certainly was just that for us, so much so that we’re struggling to find the words now to express our thanks. Playing a basketball game in an empty gym can be pretty darn depressing. We’ve all gone through it before, and so that’s why we appreciate the support when it does come. The emptiness of seasons prior only makes the crowd appreciation that much more meaningful when the stands get rocking, when people start filtering in one by one.

And did the stands get rocking at numerous points in the season. The cheering and the chanting and the celebrations in victory: it was all a sight to behold from our vantage point. Who says that Vassar College and sports can’t go together, if we all really put our minds to it? The stands got real rowdy, which even we didn’t know was possible here. But, all of the supporters proved otherwise and now we’ll never forget it. We still get goosebumps just thinking about the season. It’s one of those things that you look back upon, twenty years removed, and crack a smile.

So, with the turning of the seasons from winter to spring, why not carry on with the fan support? All of those remotely interested in sports and with some time to spare should make their way to a baseball game or two. Go check out some men’s and women’s lacrosse on the turf. We’ll be there, picking up where everyone else left off this past winter season. Let’s keep this thing rolling now. The cheering and the chanting and the celebration in victory should not subside come springtime, and they won’t under our watch. It makes a pretty big difference, when people decide to come and watch and support. The fan support should be a year-long presence on this campus, if for nothing else than to show some appreciation for the student-athletes trying to juggle sports and grueling academics. It really should be consistent—in the fall, in the winter, and now in the spring.

The men’s varsity basketball team will be active on that front, as we would like to express our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude in the best way possible. But, most importantly, thank you all once again for your tremendous support this past season. It did not fall upon blind eyes and deaf ears, we assure you. We will remember it for years to come.

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