Amanda Crowe: Invasion? More like retreat

I had high hopes for last week’s Colonials Invasion. I couldn’t wait to join up with a couple thousand of my fellow students, sing the fight song, maybe get some free stuff and get pumped about this year’s basketball season. Unfortunately, all I got was a pathetic attempt from the University to foster school spirit.

I originally didn’t plan on going to Colonials Invasion, but some of my friends convinced me to go. On our way there, we ran into someone my friend knew. We told her we were heading over to the Smith Center for Colonials Invasion. She started to laugh and asked us why we would go to something like that.

I was a little surprised by her reaction. GW is a Division I school with a decent basketball program. The women’s team made it to the NCAA Sweet 16 last year and the men’s team has been ranked as high as No. 6 in the polls during the last several years.

She obviously wasn’t alone in her view. At the Smith Center, there was hardly anyone in the bleachers. Officials say that there were 973 people in attendance, but it seemed like fewer. Where were the throngs of fans I was expecting? We have around 10,000 undergraduates, and less than 10 percent came out to show their support for our hardworking basketball teams.

Part of the problem was that many people didn’t even know that Colonials Invasion was happening last week. Yes, there were flyers posted around campus, but they weren’t enough. There should have been several e-mails sent out, large posters placed in residence hall lobbies and this season’s basketball schedule posted all over campus to get people excited.

The University also got rid of the headliner performance this year. This was a mistake. More than 2,000 students came to Colonials Invasion last year. Part of it probably had to do with the performer, and I can almost guarantee that it got people more excited about the season. A performer builds hype around the event and the team.

The cheesy giveaway competitions and the dance team performances detracted from the point of the event. Hardly anyone was paying attention to the contests, and the multiple dance performances, although excellent, had nothing to do with the basketball season. It made me wonder whether I was attending a pep rally or a dance recital.

When the teams finally did come out, I’m sure they were disappointed by the lack of turnout. This was supposed to be a party in their honor, but hardly any of their guests showed up. They worked so hard in the offseason, and their reward was a paltry showing at Colonials Invasion.

The University needs to do a better job with promoting athletics here on campus. We’re not just a good academic school. We’re also a good athletic school. More emphasis on sports here at GW would increase school spirit, something the University severely lacks.

Both the men’s and women’s coaches pleaded for a better turnout during the season. New women’s head coach Mike Bozeman told everyone to “bring a friend” to the games, something men’s coach Karl Hobbs also touched on.

Do it. Everyone bring at least one friend with them to the basketball games this season. Once our teams see the Smith Center packed with supporters, I have no doubt this will fuel them to play just that much harder. Hopefully students can forgive the University – and themselves – for such a poor Colonials Invasion and come out to support the teams.

The writer is a freshman majoring in international affairs.

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