Unappreciated no more

Apr 062003
Authors: Reed Saunders

Ever walk across campus feeling you’re about the only one there? Like no matter how many people you see around you or how many concert flyers you get handed, you’re just not that appreciated?

You work just as hard as any student out here. Yet you find yourself singing a simple, subtle plea.

You want to dance with somebody. Want to feel the heat with somebody… with somebody who loves you.

Such are the words of Whitney Houston, and such are the sentiments of the unheralded sports teams at CSU. Whitney never made so much sense.

For most anyone concerned around these parts, there seem to be three, maybe four sports on the CSU campus.

Football, basketball, spring football and Frisbee golf, depending on your “Legalize Pot” stance.

Seems fans and journalists alike, yours truly included, often focus their eyes solely on the “Big” sports at CSU. Like wet T-shirt contests, Mike Tyson and Journey’s Greatest Hits, those big sports simply draw you in.

For all those “evil stepsister,” big money programs, though, there are a few Cinderellas here at CSU.

Maybe you’ve seen them, scrubbing the floor or taking infield practice, talking with mice or hitting off the ball machine, riding in a large pumpkin-turned-chariot or driving a 2-iron off the range. Most likely the latters there.

Softball, Tennis, Golf, Track and Field.

THESE are the unheralded programs of Colorado State.

Not much love usually comes their way, though. Fifty people show up for softball games, most of them parents. The crowds at a tennis match are just enough for a nice game of bridge. On any given day, the obituatry section usually gets more press space.

Shame, really. Especially when you consider how much love they deserve.

Softball is 22-9 and coming off an impressive road sweep of New Mexico. Freshman pitcher Jaycee Wood threw a perfect game. They ran off a 13-game win streak, the longest such streak in six years. Sure, they had their share of Binghampton’s, Tennessee-Martin’s and George Mason’s on that slate. But hey, the men’s basketball team whooped up on

Texas A&M Kingsville and Gardner-Webb, look where they ended up. Plus, the softball team’s a lot better looking.

Tennis is 7-6 on the strength of a three-match win streak. Senior Sanja Hansson is a nationally-ranked singles player. They look great in skirts (probably not the most PC thing I could have put there, but facts are facts, people).

Of their four meets so far where team scores were recorded, the CSU men’s and women’s track and field teams have finished first three times. Four athletes qualified for the NCAA Championships. Forrest Gump’s got nothin’ on these Rams.

On the links, the men’s golf team, ranked No. 38 nationally, has finished no worse than ninth at a tournament this year. Juniors Martin Laird and Nolan Martin are among the top golfers in the Mountain West. Laird, who earlier this season placed first in the El Diablo Intercollegiate, is the only golfer to shoot a 65 in school history — a feat he’s accomplished three times this season.

The women’s golfers aren’t lacking in Ty Webb-like stats either.

First year Head Coach Angie Hopkins has the Rams poised for a third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

Lynette Duran, the reigning Mountain West Conference Champion for the nationally-ranked Rams, is again among the conference’s best golfers. What’s the female form of Ty? Tylese Webb? Tynesha Webb? Just hope you’ve seen Caddyshack.

So next time you grab a leaflet on the plaza or pop in your favorite guilty pleasure CD and you’re feeling you might want to dance with somebody, keep in mind you’re not alone.

There’s a few sports teams all around you who are ready to feel the heat, too. Or something like that.

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