Sports take: Lesser-known Baylor sports deserve more support

The Baylor acrobatics and tumbling team competes in a meet in March 2018 at the Ferrell Center. The Bears have won four straight national championships. Other lesser-known Baylor sports teams such as baseball, softball and men’s tennis are ranked in the Top 25 this year. Lariat File Photo

By Jessika Harkay | Sports Writer

As a sports fan, or a young adult trying to engage in student-life, there’s nothing better than showing up to a packed sporting event with everyone engaged, everyone screaming and everyone making the environment more fun than watching the game itself.

If you’re someone who isn’t quite into athletics, it’s an opportunity to have fun, meet new people and overall do something outside of your dorm in little old Waco.

But if you’re anything like me, the only sports that pop into your head are probably the most common ones, specifically basketball and football. I’m guilty of it. There’s no way you’d casually find me saying, “Wow that tennis match was so exciting,” to my friends or that I would intentionally go out of my way to watch softball, soccer, etc. — but that’s something I would like to see changed.

It began with becoming a sports writer for the Lariat. Otherwise, I probably would have been to at least half as many basketball games that I’ve gone to this semester. But as a reporter, you have no place to be biased. You get to watch the game, the fans and the emotions of everything in between from a small distance. Going to my first basketball game as a reporter, I was able to see things from a slightly different perspective than the average fan.

I got to see the passion of both teams and their fans. I got to see the cheers got louder and how the excitement in the student-athletes’ eyes grew when they heard the student-led chants. I got to see how much effort is behind the scenes of the game. Before and after.

The thing we tend to forget is though we’re at a competitive school, student-athletes are closer to us than we think. They’re still young, learning and thriving off having someone behind them cheering them on.

If you’ve ever been an athlete, you know the satisfaction behind having cheers grow and roar. You know the satisfaction of finishing a tough game and coming out on top and feeling almost like a hero to your fellow classmates. You know the heartbreak of losing a tough game and wishing you could’ve fixed one or two mistakes.

As students, and better yet, as a Baylor family, I believe we have to do a better job of supporting our lesser-spoken-about sports. Not only to cheer our athletes on, but to create more opportunity for the Baylor community to get together and cheer for something.

The most memorable games, athlete or viewer, don’t come from the games themselves, but the environment that we were engulfed in during the game. For me, the best games were the ones that everyone was passionate about, involved in and interested in.

Don’t get me wrong, even now it doesn’t sound the most appealing to go to a track and field event or a softball matchup, but that’s because the rest of the student body believes that too. If the hype shifted and surrounded all our sports, I know it would be a different story for a lot of students contemplating whether they wanted to go to one of those games.

Let’s talk about winning the Texas Bowl this season, and how the Lady Bears basketball team is No. 1.

Let’s also talk about how our baseball, softball and men’s tennis teams are all ranked in the Top 25 or that our acrobatics and tumbling team has won four straight national championships or that our soccer team won the Big 12 championship.

With even our less-spoken-about teams being in the top of the conference, the least we can do is cheer those athletes on and take advantage of our ever growing and successful sports programs.