To all the soon-to-be-diehard Columbia sports fans, hello and a very warm welcome to Morningside Heights. You may not know much about athletics at Columbia, but we at Spectator are here to provide a brief introduction to varsity sports, and tell you why it may be worth your while to invest the time in becoming a fan.
Let’s rip the Band-Aid off right away—the 2011-12 Columbia teams are not the all-time greatest. They probably won’t dominate the Ivy League, and they probably won’t be champions at every sport. College GameDay won’t be making an appearance at Baker, you shouldn’t pencil the Lions into the Final Four in your NCAA bracket just yet, and the administration isn’t saving any space on the side of Butler to engrave Noruwa Agho’s name.
However, they definitely will provide top-quality entertainment and a sense of community spirit (which can be rare on this campus, let us tell you), completely free of charge. Last year, Henning Sauerbier scored a goal in the final minute of normal time, giving the men’s soccer team a electrifying victory against Dartmouth, and the men’s tennis team rallied from 0-3 down to beat Yale in a 4-3 thriller.
We can personally guarantee that Friday night basketball games at Levien are about 10 times louder than Primal Scream, and there’s a good chance you’ll see that fencer you sit next to in poli-sci on TV in London next summer.
There’s a certain passion that comes from backing the underdog (and without a doubt, that’s what the Light Blue will be in many of its contests this year). The joy of every precious triumph will more than compensate for the losses you may witness. Several Lions teams have been on the rise these past few seasons—most noticeably volleyball and men’s soccer—and 2011-12 promises to be a campaign that provides its fair share of highlights.
The people representing the Light Blue will be your friends, classmates, and floor-mates, and they could use your support. Don’t you want to be there to watch them make history?
Jim Pagels is a Columbia College junior majoring in American Studies and English. Mrinal Mohanka is a Columbia College senior majoring in Economics. They are the sports editors of the Columbia Spectator.