Nov 262006
 
Authors: Drew Haugen, Andy Nicewicz

In the world of college athletics, football is the keystone sport. Especially at CSU, football garners a lot of attention, support, and publicity from the community. But why should football deserve all this attention and the funding that goes with it?

Football is the quintessential American college sport and has been since its conception in the late 19th century. A uniquely American invention, football has become a pastime in collegiate life. At a university such as CSU, the importance of the football program is no different.

Under coach Lubick’s direction, CSU has enjoyed unprecedented success with its football program. Four Conference Coach of the Year awards for Lubick, the winningest tenure in the program’s history, and six conference championships later, CSU’s football program has become a cornerstone of the CSU athletic tradition and history.

The consistent success of the football program has become a pillar of pride for the university’s student body, and school spirit often hinges on the success of our football team.

Do you remember the atmosphere at Invesco among the CSU faithful when we beat CU? Thousands were cheering, yelling and chanting. At that point you couldn’t be prouder to be a Ram.

Of course football brings its low moments as well; when we learned of our loss to Wyoming, we were devastated.

The football program has become indicative of CSU success at a level where students tie personal value to the team’s successes and failures.

This emotional bond with the team provides for an ambiance unparalleled for any other CSU sport. Football has the power to involve and inspire its fan base, and its appeal hinges on this ability.

The game itself is full of this energy too. College football is somehow intangibly different from professional football in its pace, athleticism and energy. Small rule differences allow for one-footed catches going out of bounds, the absence of referee play-review and other practices that increase the pace and intensity of play that can make Hughes Stadium erupt in cheer.

The environment of a CSU football game is unequalled by other sports. Hughes Stadium during a football game has an infectious energy and enthusiasm to it. Set on the edge of jagged foothills, the stadium is a bridge between civilization and raw wilderness, much like the sport it houses.

The cement construction of Hughes Stadium projects the sounds of blaring horns and thundering percussion from the marching band, celebratory cannon fire, and excited cheers from the crowd as the Sonny Lubick Field becomes a war zone.

The jingling of keys on a sunny afternoon illuminates the fans like ornaments, and the stage is set for a Hughes Stadium rumble.

Outside the stadium, there is a special camaraderie among the fans. Students, alumni, parents and community members are brought together by CSU football in a way they otherwise would not. Tens of thousands of fans crowd together in the tailgating parking lots to share in the excitement of supporting their team.

People who previously had nothing in common are brought together in support of their team. Total strangers embrace and slap each other high-fives on a good play, and girls are thrown in the air when a touchdown is scored. Rivalries are created and fans unite in solidarity against their adversaries. Where else does this happen but in football?

Some people have soccer, others hockey, and for some it’s baseball or maybe another sport. But for most college students in the United States, football is the only game that brings out this sort of passion.

You take away football from this university and you take away a good part of what it means to be a Ram. You take away passion, emotion, and unity shared with our fellow students. Some of peoples’ best times (and a few bad ones) here at CSU were spent at football games. These are memories that we all will have for the rest of our lives, and that’s something you can’t put a price on.

Andy Nicewicz is a senior political science major. His column appears every Monday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

Drew Haugen is a senior international studies major. His column appears every Monday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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