Sports

Best kept secret in town might be RMAC Shootout champs

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mugshot_thumbnail.jpgIf the fifth-ranked team in the nation falls in Massari Arena, and nobody is there to see it, did it really happen?

Well it did. I know. I was there. Me and eight other students. The only seat where you had to fight for elbow room was on press row.

OK I lied, the upset didn’t happen, but you wouldn’t have known either way! The Colorado State University-Pueblo women’s basketball team almost knocked off the fifth-ranked Fort Lewis Skyhawks, but fell short, 71-66.

Students always complain that CSU-Pueblo doesn’t offer much of a college life. It’s like my mom always said, “You can make it a good experience, or you can make it a bad one. It’s your choice!”

The university spent $12.5 million renovating the complex, but the talented women’s basketball team still doesn’t have a home-court advantage due to lazy students who would rather get wasted than support their fellow classmates.

You’re going to have the rest of your life to booze – college only lasts four years (for most of us).

The student-body as a whole supported the football team – both athletes and non. Head coach of the women’s basketball team Kip Drown said he was there, and I know I saw seniors Mary Rehfeld and Jonnie Draper there. Out of the 100-plus on the football roster I saw one player present at 6 p.m. for the women’s game.

The baseball team cries because nobody but their girlfriends show up to their games. To get respect you have to give it. It’s the same with attendance. There are more than 30 baseball players that make up the roster, I spotted zero in the biggest game of the season for the women’s basketball team.

“Everyone expects people to go to their games, but they don’t want to have to put forth the effort to support their fellow athletes,” Draper said. “I don’t remember the last time I saw a baseball player at our game.”

Don’t expect a crowd in your upcoming seasons. At least not from the women’s basketball team. You’ll probably get one though – they’re a nice group of women from what I know. If any of them do show up, it’ll be too much.

OK Draper might not toss up an alley-oop that Rehfeld finishes off, but one thing they do more than the guys…win.

I’m not asking you to show up to watch a bad team. They are 12-7. This is a team in second place in the RMAC West Division. This is a team with the same core of women that went to the national tournament last year. That’s far more than any other member of a team sport can say at CSU-Pueblo. The last two teams to make it to the tournament were ’07-’08 women’s basketball team and the ’05-’06 women’s basketball team.

“I understand people have a lot of things going on, on Saturday night,” Drown said. “But these girls play hard, and they’ve had a lot of success.”

At tip-off, of the 30 people in the “The Wolfpack CSU-Pueblo Student Section” the average person was old enough to be my parent. Perhaps a more appropriate name for it would be the “Parents, Aunts and Uncles of the Students Section.”

“To be honest, it’s really upsetting,” Draper said. “I feel like the girls’ basketball team has really proven ourselves, especially over the last three seasons winning.

“It’s not like they don’t know about it, because they show up for the guys’ game right after us,” Draper said. “I think there is a stereotype that girls’ basketball games are slower, that we don’t score as much, but on a pretty continuous basis we outscore the guys.”

When the cheerleaders tried getting the section involved, they got a mixed bag of blank stares and yawns.

Show up, get rowdy, try to make a difference. Better yet go watch the Mesa State football and baseball teams support their fellow squads. You could learn a thing or two.

“I don’t know what Mesa does, but every single time we go there, their student section is packed,” Rehfeld said.

Rehfeld said last night was one of the largest crowds she’s played in front of since Massari opened last season. Go figure, the school was honoring honor-roll athletes. I’m sure it didn’t hurt they were also giving away an iPod. Rehfeld, Draper and I all agree it shouldn’t take give-aways to get a crowd here.

I don’t mean to pick on those two teams in particular, but they are the most populated. Basic math tells me the ratio of football and baseball players to all other sports should be about equal. In actuality, I was able to spot (at least) two volleyball players to the lone representatives of the two bigs.

Students should be ashamed of themselves. Fellow student-athletes should send an apology letter to the ladies.

The next home game is Feb. 17 when they host New Mexico Highlands. Prove me wrong.