Sports Fan Loyalty at Community Colleges Builds Stronger Bonds

by A Guest Author

Loyalties are strong forces that drive people’s passion for principles, institutions, and organizations, be they fandom for a professional sports team or a local civic group. How do you build strong loyalty? Which organizations create undying support that characterizes loyalty? One example is the loyalty to a college and its sports teams.

You see this loyalty in the thousands of fans who fill college football stadiums every fall, wearing their team’s colors as if they were members of the school. Indeed, many are alumni, but many more have just chosen the school as their team, resulting in millions of dollars for the chosen university through ticket sales, purchase of school related merchandise, donations and recruitment of students. We normally associate this loyalty with large schools, especially if they have greater budgets. However, smaller colleges can create that same loyalty. In fact, a smaller college can generate much stronger bonds than larger schools, regardless of the size of its fan base.

In a small group, each individual feels his or her importance, representing a larger percentage of the whole group, and thus carrying a larger responsibility. This feeling extends to the fans of a smaller college’s team. There may not be a large following of your small college, but you know each other and you stick together, developing a special bond as sports fans. When you encounter another fan of your favorite small college, there is an instant connection and you know that in each other’s eyes, you are not just nameless, faceless fans of a big school. Studies even show that people rooting for the same sports teams are more likely to trust each other in matters outside of sports over acquaintances who support rival teams. This trust facilitates stronger intimacy between groups and stronger bonds between group members.

Let’s take a state like Texas, where honor and loyalty, especially to sports teams, are ingrained in culture. When you think about Texas, of course you think big. In regards to sports, you see large institutions like University of Texas, with enormous fan bases for their sports teams. But there are also small colleges in Texas like SFASU. This school has a noble winning tradition in diverse sports on a national level, and despite the small size of its student body, holds great pride in athletics and education. Root for a smaller school—and you will build a strong bond with every other fan.

A great way to create that strong bond is to start a local group that supports your community college. You may not have many people at first because most community colleges are small, but those who attend the meeting will quickly expand this special group loyalty. Groups or clubs at community college may meet a few times a month to build team spirit, spread awareness about the skills of the players, provide information about how to support the home team, and have a lot of fun at rallies. Inviting speakers with knowledge about the school and its teams reinforces a team’s credibility, especially if the community college newspaper or media club is invited to cover the event. If your community college is on television, you can gather together and watch the game. These activities, be they administrative like flier distribution and table set-up on your 2 year community college campus, or more grandiose like banquets or group dinners in your community college's town, build comradery and eagerness for future events.

There is no better way for supporters of a community college to bond than through their loyalty to the school's sports teams. It creates a common topic of conversation that can be continued anywhere--on the field, in the classroom, in the dining hall, in the dorms, and long after graduation. It provides the reason to meet, hold a reunion, and even go on a date, resulting in lifetime friendship. There is no substitution for sports loyalty, and likely no better way to support your 2 year community college, meet new friends, and renew acquaintances.

This post was written by A Guest Author

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