Last Saturday night, the Longhorns took on the Ole Miss Rebels and lost 44-23. It was disappointing and upsetting to watch, and there’s no denying that our school’s football program isn’t what it used to be. But that doesn’t excuse the behavior of fans at recent games. Leaving early and booing a coach who has dedicated 15 years of his life to UT is downright rude. Especially when our team is losing.
Regardless of our team’s success, the fans are an important part of our school’s identity. My parents, both alumni, used to claim that UT-Austin had the best fans of any school. I always swelled with pride at UT’s “Come Early, Be Loud, Stay Late, Wear Orange” philosophy, believing that my University’s fans were better than all the rest because we loved our school in defeat and in victory.
But lately that’s begun to change. When attending games in recent years, I’ve noticed that few fans stay until the end. Nowadays, most only show dedication and loyalty to the team when that team is winning the game.
Last year, I wrote a similar article for this paper decrying the lack of dedication that fans displayed at the Red River Showdown (though I still think of it as a shootout.) I described the disappointment I felt at seeing our lack of support for the team against one of its biggest rivals. The late-game attrition that I have repeatedly seen in the few games of this season shows me that nothing has changed, and that fewer people care.
True fans stay until “The Eyes of Texas” is sung. That’s what I was taught by my parents, who have gone to every home game since they graduated. I’ll teach my children to do the same, because it is disrespectful to the team and to the coaches to leave the stadium early, especially when we are losing and they need the support most. If you were playing in a game and your parents, family or friends left early because you were losing, how would you feel?
Just like in life, confidence comes from accepting our strengths and weaknesses and taking steps to improve ourselves. But leaving the stadium before the end of the game shows nothing but shame. If there’s one thing I learned from losing every game of youth soccer while growing up, it’s that losses only hurt you if you let them. If you accept your mistakes and move on, then you can learn from them and grow. How can we be proud of our University and everything it does when we show the world that we only stay if we’re winning?
I am ashamed of my fellow fans. Ashamed of our turn to fair-weather fandom. Ashamed that we boo Mack Brown, who reinvigorated our football program. I am ashamed of what we’ve become.
Adams is a government and economics junior from Plano.