Being a college sports fan can be difficult at a school like Portland State, where collegiate sports loyalty is relatively nonexistent. With teams like the Timbers and the Blazers fighting for Rose City sportsaholics’ attention and loyalty, PSU tends to fall short.
Regardless of a limited fan base, however, the Viking teams have still shown up to play and have been kicking butt and taking names. Did you know that just last year the women’s track team challenged for a Big Sky championship? Or that the football team almost upset California just a couple of weeks ago? Because that happened, and all signs point to future wins and upsets.
Lack of sports camaraderie is just one of the fundamental differences between PSU and sports-crazed University of Oregon and Oregon State. In a commuter school full of transfer students and adults who may work full time or support a family, there’s not a lot of time left to support the sports program. The point is to get a degree and get out—but where does that leave the undeniable fellowship that comes from cheering on a team that wears your colors?
As sad as it is, the athletes, coaching staff and athletic department do not get recognition for their hard work and success that they so often earn. Unfortunately, that is just a part of the culture at PSU. You’d be surprised the amount of times a current student is unaware that we even have a football team! If this is the first time you’re hearing about it—it’s true. They rock this season, and you should check them out.
There is a certain skill set one must learn to be nonchalant about PSU sports teams. It takes effort to ignore those signs up in the Park Blocks every time the Vikings play at home that state where and when the game is. There was even a note on the McDonald’s billboard about the football game on Sept. 26. If you’re hooked into any PSU Facebook pages, you couldn’t have overlooked all the notifications. They’re there. It’s not them—it’s you.
There is no way students in Portland will be as spirited as our fellow college students in Eugene and Corvallis—at least not overnight. That would completely change the atmosphere here, and let’s be honest: No one wants to hear our hipster frat dudes running around yelling “Scoviks!” (What does that even mean?)
However, what if we managed to find a happy medium? Not quite that ridiculously overbearing school spirit that will give anyone not five beers in at a tailgate party a headache, but more than “Wait, we have a football team?”
I’m the last person who wants overbearing school spirit. But there are a lot of people working very hard to be successful in athletics, and they deserve our support. Thanks to my two years’ worth of sports reporting experience, I have had the opportunity to have a major wake-up call when it comes to PSU sports. We are not a joke.
The basketball team has been to the NCAA Tournament twice in the recent past. The track and field team has seen success as individuals and as a team. The football team is amid a very successful beginning to their season, and they have the potential to do great things in the Big Sky this year. The Vikings have caused their competition to take notice; it’s time that their own school does as well. The first step? Get your butt to a game. I’ll see you there!