By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
Baylor University sports have a strong and committed fanbase, and the home sporting events are always a sight to see. Seemingly everyone in Waco roots for the Bears; however, not everybody is a Baylor fan. A good amount of people, including students and staff, root for their hometown college teams or other colleges in general rather than the Bears.
Memphis, Tenn. junior Anthony Malone II said he remains loyal to the University of Memphis’ athletics. Malone said he considers himself a Baylor fan most games, but wouldn’t say the Bears are his number one team.
“I would pick Memphis over Baylor, all day, everyday,” Malone said. “It’s my hometown team; I’ve been watching them my whole life so it’s what I enjoy. In Memphis, I know players on the basketball and football team and I’m from the city. There is more of a personal connection.”
Malone said his team stance depends on the sport, since he roots for Memphis in basketball, Baylor in volleyball, but neither team in football. He declared the University of Oklahoma to be his favorite football team. When the two schools play each other, even if the game is in Waco, Malone roots for the Sooners. Malone said he welcomes all criticism when wearing his non-Baylor gear around campus.
Born and raised in Austin, senior Leonila Rios said she would root for Baylor before The University of Texas and it’s not really a hard decision for her. She said she has more of a personal connection with Baylor. Rios knows the people, has been here a long time and enjoys being at home games when she gets to go with her friends and cheer on the Bears. Rios specifically mentioned the talent of the reigning national champions being a factor for her when choosing between the teams.
“I love Baylor,” Rios said. “I go to school here, been here for all four years. I love the people, and we’re better than [UT] at basketball which is what I care about.”
Even Baylor’s staff can be caught between universities at times. Political science lecturer Andrew Clayton has strong ties to both the Baylor and Gonzaga University communities.
“I love both Gonzaga University and Baylor University,” Clayton said. “They are both home to me. However, I pretty much grew up on the campus of Gonzaga University where my father continues to teach philosophy and where my mother just retired [from the Athletics Department]. My father and mother started working there in 1986. I was hanging out on campus at the age of four. I also graduated from Gonzaga University in 2005, and a day before my graduation I married my wife [a Gonzaga graduate] at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic Church. I attended nearly every basketball game from 1994-2005. So, it’s no question that when the two teams compete, I cheer on the Zags.”
A bittersweet moment for Clayton was when the two schools met in the national championship back in April, where the Bears beat the Zags. Clayton said he knew within the first three minutes of the game, the Bears would win and it was hard for him to watch the “massacre.” He said he was still proud of Gonzaga and very happy for Baylor. Clayton ends every single one of his classes with “Go Zags! Go Bears!”