This is what the USD student section looked like just before kickoff.
- This is a view of that same student section, only early in the second half. By the time the game was over, the section was only about 3 rows deep.
When I got to the DakotaDome, about 45 minutes before gametime, it looked like it was going to be a good crowd. At gametime it was, with an announced attendance of 10,196.
By halftime, several of those students who were there at gametime had filed out, with even more leaving at halftime, with the Coyotes leading 10-3. By the time Western Illinois assumed “victory formation” with just over a minute to go, the student crowd that had numbered in the thousands might have numbered only 100.
As USD brags up its largest freshman class and largest overall enrollment in school history, it continues to fight the battle of figuring out how to get its student body involved. They’ve tried everything from giving away tuition to giving away big-screen TVs to anything else they could think of, and yet the student section at the end of the game is a mere fraction of what it is at the start.
When I’m in fan mode — on those rare days called vacations — I have only once left a game, and it was because my wife needed medical attention. I wouldn’t dream of leaving a game before the end, no matter what the score, because you never know what you might miss. (By the way, the game I left because my wife was hurt I missed what would have been my first live triple play.)
OK, so USD lost and they haven’t played well this season. But how would you feel if a fellow student came to your play, or concert, then got up and walked out midway through?
If you’re leaving to go to the bar, why can’t you wait for another 90 minutes? If you’re leaving to study, maybe you should give your ticket to someone whose caught up and stay home and study?
One of the things about sports is that players feed off the positive, or negative, energy from the crowd. If you want your team to succeed, wouldn’t it make sense to stay the whole game, get loud and back your team?
There is only one more college football game in the DakotaDome this year, Nov. 10 against Northern Iowa. Let’s see if we can get a few of the “Coyote Crazies” to quit being “Coyote Lazies,” stay for the whole game and cheer on the Coyotes.