More than two years have gone by since I joined the TCU student body. Since then I have seen many changes take place both on and off campus. The school has become more recognizable throughout the country, and it has really helped the application process and enrollment numbers. However, TCU administrative officials have tripped up in a big way. They have not taken in the fact that a big reason for this newly-found stardom is because of our football program.
Football is usually the main spotlight at any major university because of the amount of money and recognition that it can bring to the table. Unfortunately, most other sports just can’t compete with the unstoppable force that is the pigskin.
In order to take advantage of the new limelight, TCU needs to allow for a “football atmosphere” to overtake the campus and the fans. However, this requires some storming of the field, extreme tailgates and die-hard fans screaming ridiculous things that only they can understand. Most importantly, the hatred of our rivals must overwhelm us for just one day without anyone telling us to “play nice.”
Players, coaches and die-hard fans complain constantly about the small fan base for the Horned Frogs. Well, the reason is because we don’t act like a football school. Having a clean image and always doing the right thing is great and is a must, but this is college football. Check out the schools with big fan bases. Most of them are state schools with 30,000 or more students who lose their minds when their team scores. Also, there are many smaller schools with just as many students as TCU who get twice as loud as some of the larger schools. They have passion and the support of their universities.
Passion is required in order to have a fan base that we can be proud of. Rushing the field, celebrations, tailgating, traditions and music are all fundamental to the process of creating a fan base that is monumental.
Removing the tailgate in Brachman’s parking lot was the biggest mistake our school made. School officials complain about the lack of fans; well, TCU is the reason why their fans have started to abandon the major sports. The atmosphere has become boring and the spirit has been killed by athletic administrators preaching sportsmanship rules and drilling fans with nice ways to support the opponents’ fans.
Even though I have been drilling sportsmanship, it is still very important and is required; but we need to draw the line. There is a difference between smothering us with good behavior and respecting our opponents. But TCU needs to understand they might smother us to death. The football team beat BYU, its in-conference rival, which ranked No. 8 nationally and features one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. On the other hand, we as fans could not get rowdy and have fun like a normal school like USC or UT. It is not fair to the players, coaches and, most of all, the fans.
Students and other Horned Frog fans are about to embrace Gary Patterson’s motto: “Make It Personal.” We are about to make it personal with TCU officials. Enough is enough. Learn to let go and you will see your fan base increase and traditions start to form. This isn’t an Ivy League school, nor is it some East Coast university. This is Texas, where football is king and the passion driving it is unimaginable.
Shawn Redd is a junior news-editorial journalism major from Sunnyvale.