The Start of Something New: How Sports Can Help Change a School

by Austin Donnelly
So I’m back in Germany currently to visit my family and it has me reflecting on my high school’s environment compared to UTSA’s. I went to Kaiserslautern High School (no it’s not a german school, it’s an American DODDS school on a military base) and needless to say, sports are not a top priority there. In my freshman and sophomore years I didn’t really care about sports at all, but when my friend and I decided to go to one of our school’s basketball games on a whim, I was hooked. I don’t remember if we won that game or even who we were playing, I just remember being on the edge of my seat throughout and doing something that I hadn’t ever done before that: I cheered for my school. I actually cared about the school I went to. I forgot about how stressful my calculus class was. I forgot about any petty high school drama that may have been going on at the time. It was just me, my good friend Ryan, and a great time.
Upon further reflecting, that was the point when I started to really give a crap about my school. I started to wear more red white and black, helped out with school events and joined the student government so I could help out even more. My senior year I was the manager of the basketball team during the fall and became the baseball manager in the spring. I wanted other people to love that school as much as I did, and it all started with that one basketball game. I really didn’t know how I could get to the rest of my class and I really didn’t have a ton of time so not a lot changed there, but it certainly changed me.
Fast forward to my freshman year of college and it’s almost the same situation. Half of the students don’t really care about the school (exemplified by the amount of people wearing other college’s merch) and an even larger group doesn’t care about our sports teams. My line of thinking is that those groups are correlated. If we can get more people to more games, then maybe we can develop an even better campus culture than we already have. That guy that wears UT Austin shirts everyday while sulking around because he didn’t get into his dream school can realize that UTSA is an amazing school as well. That guy that is starting to regret going to college because he’s bored and it’s stressful can realize that there is a good time almost every weekend on a field.
With all this said, I love my school, but we have some work to do before people start calling us their dream school. Joe, our friend Conner, and I have formed the Bad Birds and started going to baseball games to liven up the crowd and get more people in the stands, and it really has started to show results. Joe and Conner, along with our friend Noel went to the conference tournament this week (I couldn’t go because, well, I’m literally an ocean away) to cheer on our Roadrunner baseball team and it really shows the progress we’ve made. There may not have been a lot of fans at the game, but UTSA twitter was actually talking about baseball. That may seem small, but even small victories are victories.
So please, if you haven’t made it out to any games, just go to anything, whether it be baseball, basketball, football, or even tennis. Students have free entry so you have no excuse to just try it. UTSA is an amazing school and sports are a great way for people to realize that.
And always remember: Bright not burnt.
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