We’ve all seen it before: student sections at college sporting events flooded with shouting, enthusiastic fans supporting their school. It helps the schools make more money, it’s a morale boost for the athletes, and the students and fans love it.
The Rams have good teams on campus, with the baseball team winning the GNAC, the softball team finishing with a record well above .500, a women’s basketball team who dominated in conference play and a solid tennis squad, too. Even with those winning teams, the crowds are still sparse.
“Suffolk is certainly competitive for the conference in which they play,” said Ricky Morin, a junior at Suffolk and an avid sports fan. “However, in Boston, there’s a lot of competition in terms of venues in which these teams play,” he said.
Morin, an avid sports fan who has not attended any Suffolk sporting events while at the university, added that other teams from surrounding schools play at locations that are more accessible to them. While Suffolk’s dorms and classrooms are scattered in downtown Boston, the baseball team — Suffolk’s most successful roster last season — plays at Adams Field in Quincy. It’s not too far from the facilities, at only 10.5 miles from school, but it’s definitely not convenient, especially for college students with limited free time.
As for the Softball squad, their issues are similar. The team boasted an impressive 25-16 record last season, but the stands looked empty nonetheless. Sarah Chasse, a recent Suffolk graduate and mainstay on the Rams’ softball roster for the past four years, believes that it helps a team win when the stands are full.
“Having less fans at games is unfortunate,” she said. “We do understand that it’s hard for other students to get to our games because of the school location. But it’s always nice to have fans at games as a reminder that we do have support from our fellow students,” said Chasse
The softball team plays at Andrew P. Puopolo field in the North End, about one mile away from the Suffolk dorms. The field has parking in the vicinity for those who choose to commute by car. Even so, the fan turnout is low, hovering well under 100 persons per contest. Chasse said, the best way to get students to make their way to games is in big groups, and conveniently.
She thinks if Suffolk offered shuttle busses , it would greatly increase the attendance at softball games, as well as the other sporting events. Chasse also cited multiple situations in which she knew of students who would have attended the game, but could not due to a lack of transportation.
“When there is a full crowd in the stands, everyone’s energy is high and we play our game. We want to show everyone who we represent and how we play,” said Chasse. “The crowd gets us going. It makes us want to play better.”