Mary Washington is unique from larger universities in a multitude of ways, but one of the major differences is how our athletics fail to garner the same sort of attention or following that larger institutions do.
Obviously, UMW athletics don’t compete on the Division I level, and that probably is the main reason that the student body constantly dismisses the different sports we have. However, just because the Eagles’ sports teams aren’t of the caliber of those from Virginia Tech or the University of Maryland doesn’t mean that the student body and faculty can’t support the teams that we do have. Division III athletes are still high caliber players in their respective sports, and their games tend to be entertaining and amusing to watch.
The Capital Athletic Conference, the conference that UMW sports play in, is a highly competitive one with its share of rivalries and quality rivalries. Mary Washington has had strong representation in a horde of different sports, particularly in the 2010-2011 school year in which 15 of the 16 eligible varsity teams finished fourth place or higher in the regular season conference standings.
The varsity teams are not the only ones making noise, as the men’s rugby team has constantly competed at a high level, and this year the women’s rugby team advanced to play on a national level in the USA Rugby semi-quarterfinals.
Yet despite the wide array of competitive teams, the Mary Washington community continues to overlook the school’s athletics. Attendance at nearly all athletic events are scarce, and the excuse that poor college kids don’t have money and thus can’t afford tickets to games can’t be made since the majority of UMW sporting events are free to attend. The apathy regarding the school’s sports teams is a sad thing to witness, as people would rather rant and rave online about their misinterpretations of satire then attend an Eagles baseball game.
UMW sports teams don’t compete on national television for the country to see, so our athletes aren’t deified and our teams aren’t as well publicized. However, that doesn’t mean that it is some arduous task to support our university’s teams and display school pride.