Sports is fun…sometimes

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Sports is fun…sometimes

Photo by Trevor Stamp

Photo by Trevor Stamp

Photo by Trevor Stamp

Photo by Trevor Stamp

Ryan Mancini

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It should not take too long to notice the massive amount of sports-related propaganda interspersed across CSUN’s campus. Including Redwood Hall, it is always fascinating how many reminders one can have of the numerous sports teams that travel across the nation to show off our prowess in the courts, on the fields and on the green.

In addition to the small posts planted in the browning lawns around campus, you are reminded when passing the basketball court at the dorms or watching fraternity brothers play frisbee in front of the Oviatt library. Sports flows in the veins of so many who come for business or economics, and wind up playing football with the bros for six hours on a Friday night.

Even go as far as the outskirts of Northridge, where commuters can find billboards not only showing off the newly-minted CSUN brand but also someone with a basketball or volleyball (genuine good luck with the tryouts, volleyballers). It is a sign that this school knows what strengths it has and what strengths should be flaunted to the general public.

And of course, it can be said that the celebrity addition of Reggie Theus helped boost not just the basketball program but also the already burgeoning sports programs.

My questionability in the spread of CSUN sports and its visibility is in regard to its apparent importance in wanting to be advertised. These stylized ads closely resemble either ESPN promos or “Avengers” posters. The image we show the state and the nation is bold when preparing to compete with numerous other teams from a finite number of other colleges.

In the years that I have been enrolled, the sports programs’ visibility has gradually increased. I must also commend my fellow Sports editors and reporters who have helped bring that passion and sense of competition to my attention. It is greatly admirable.

Self-image is key in any relationship, this one referring to that of CSUN sports programs and the general public. There is understanding which is not mutual, however. Surely, there have to be people who see all of the propaganda and advertising and think, “Is there anything more to that school than sports and theater?”

Backtrack: while I do appreciate a sturdy theater program which CSUN has (compared to my previous school’s program), I also find that too as trying to closely resemble that of concert halls and avant garde theater performances seen in Los Angeles and elsewhere.

The resemblances are truly respectable – it helps provide a level of legitimacy that can have power when compared to this school’s competition. But what else can we offer? Are there other programs that can get this type of fashionable attention?

CSUN has done an ok job at promoting robotics and business, but what of other fields? It feels as though there is never enough to promote the biology or astronomy departments, yet it feels that the attention is misplaced. What other fields have to offer can be made into something maybe beautiful.

I would be stunned to see speeches by intellectuals and activists be given a similar or greater presence than that of the next basketball or tennis game. I am proud that in the last 20 years, CSUN has had the likes of Andrew Sullivan and Russell Means, but why can we not bring in more people with similar backgrounds?

Ah, but I can hear the rebuttal. All of the focus will go to what places people into seats. It’s no different from why hip hop and rap is played at Big Show and not a different genre such as rock. You want to deliver an attractive product that brings consumers.

So be it. But don’t leave out the smaller groups who hold different tastes and interests. Perhaps they want to see their interests being brought up and given recognition.

While I am not always a large fan of “happy mediums,” this situation may require it. With what feels like three tiers of promotion at CSUN, between sports, theater and everything else, the niche should be closer to the same.

Not an exact equilibrium (or maybe so). Just a closer parity of what can appeal to all of the non-sports people who happen to go to CSUN. Give them something that might grab their attention.

But I hear the other rebuttal: is this all what you want?

Not necessarily. I share sentiments with students who would like to see the school take more attention with students’ interests. And I know you cannot please all of the people all of the time. Civilization has never worked that way, at least not fully.

So by now, it should be said that the school’s population can only go on with it. Unless people got out of their beds and chairs and into the email inboxes of Associate Students or the sports divisions, we will continue to see further promotion for our sports teams (and Valley Performing Arts Center productions).

The smaller events will continue to be that thin niche that attracts those splinter groups of students, the minority of researchers and fans who wish to keep things the way they are. The underground whispers of late night talks or early morning protests have kept their collegiate beauty at a steady level and it will persist, as long as the ball does not hit it in the face.