As a 2009 graduate of Eastern University, I am proud to say that’s where I went.
On a recent return visit, I picked up the March 17 issue of The Waltonian. Near the end of the paper I found an article about something I have not always been proud of at Eastern: our fans.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad the students at Eastern enthusiastically support their teams. I love seeing the bleachers packed full or the hill covered with cheering fans.
Having worked closely with several of the sports teams during my time at Eastern and having been friends with many EU athletes, I know they appreciate the support as well.
However, I am not always proud of how our student fans choose to show their support. A sportsman by definition is a person who is fair, generous, a good loser and a gracious winner.
“Sportsmanship” is defined as “conduct becoming to a sportsman.” Sportsmanship is not just for athletes; it’s for fans as well.
Sportsmanship is cheering loudly when your team makes a good play or yelling encouragement when your team is down.
It is NOT taunting and degrading the other team, and especially not picking out individuals by name or number. It is also not belittling the referee.
In Dan Wonneberger’s article, the author was upset that he was told how he should act instead of having his conduct being discussed with him.
Sorry, but that’s life. There are times when you’re going to be told what to do by someone in authority over you and you just have to do it—especially when it comes to how you are representing a group or company.
If the author of the article wanted to discuss why or why not his actions were inappropriate, maybe he should initiate the conversation—but the middle of a basketball game probably isn’t the best time to do so.
It’s important to remember that, as a fan, your actions aren’t just representative of you. They’re representative of the team you’re cheering for and, in this case, the university you are cheering for. As Christians, we are representatives of Christ in everything we do.
I realize that not every person at Eastern is a Christian. But by choosing to attend this university you choose to live in a Christian community and under the rules of that community. So when your actions as a fan are not representing that community, and more importantly Christ, in a positive manner then you should be told about it.
So, thank you Mark Wagner and the rest of the Athletics staff for doing your best to make sure that our university represents Christ well in all areas, including athletics.
And again, let’s be fans that cheer for our team, not against the other team. Let’s be fans that Christ would be proud of.
-Courtney Bender ‘09