Friday, October 15, 2010

Where's the Crowd?

Last week at Cardinal Stadium, something became very obvious to me.  Something that I've been slowly noticing for a few weeks.

Nobody's there!

OK, I don't mean nobody.  I mean, players are there...and broadcasters...and coaches...and a collection of fans.

But beyond  A lot of empty silver benches.

Yet show up - even an hour before kickoff.  EMPTY!  I was the first one at Cardinal Stadium last week, and that has never happened.  Now granted, this was about two and half-hours before kickoff, but still!

I've done games for a long time now.  Basically a generation (which is shocking to me).  I remember what it was like - when Jimmy Capparelle would wind the huge crowd into a frenzy (with an assist from me, as Jimmy was listening to me on his Walkman).

I remember the college football fight songs that used to ring out (I loved that atmosphere).  I remember the sound that the crowd would make when a players' name was mentioned by Dick Leonard over the speakers.  I remember the cries of "defense", and rooting on the offense.

I love crowd noise.  Just.  Love.  It.  Not the fabricated, fake creations of loud music and air horns and other artificial crap.  Spare me the party store purchases.  No pom poms and such.  Man - just give me a loud, spontaneous roar!  Yet to get that, people have to show up.

So what's the problem?  Do people not like the night games (I've sometimes suspected that)?  I don't always see the students showing up.  Why?

Before you get into the whole "wine and cheese thing", stop.  Stop now.  I've spent a lot of time with the parents to know that they aren't what you might think.  It was only two years ago that the Riscica's and DeVico's were hosting huge tailgates (not to mention Ed and Tami Kelly).  Last year, Roe Lefflbine, Alyce Kavanagh, the Bawol's, and others were in charge.  This year, Ann McGuire (that's Joe's mom!) has been kind enough to get in touch with me for the tailgate, and I've had the chance to chat with the Cici's (captain Ben's parents) and Terry O'Neal (quarterback Liam's dad), among others.  All nice people, who want Greenwich to have the atmosphere that it once had.  The fans still travel to road games, but Greenwich can do much better.

One set of parents actually told me that people are asking when Homecoming is.  REALLY?

It's next Saturday - against Bridgeport Central, at 2:00.  Just an FYI for ya.

Folks, if you don't know, Greenwich has a reputation that isn't always great.  I alluded to the wine and cheese factor.  I hear the jokes about caviar at the tailgates.  I hear all of the crap.  It bugs me.  I know better.  I know all of you better.

For you in Greenwich, going to a game is a cheap date, and a lot of fun.  For the students, you can hang with your friends.  You can start a raucous (but respectful) fan section and give Greenwich a home field advantage.

What's it going to take?

So, really, what is the problem?

See you tonight at Cardinal Stadium.  Bring a radio (and, of course, listen live)!

And thanks to Eric Gallanty and DJ Sixsmith for having me on their FCIAC Football Weekly show.  They did the show from Greenwich, and I couldn't join them for it, but they were kind enough to interview me via phone.

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