“Tufts has no weenie game,” stated an irate Jonathan at last night’s dinner. He wore a UNC Football shirt, which is how we got onto the subject in the first place. I asked him about why he likes UNC football right as Jif, another friend, joined us. And, boy, did I ask a loaded question.
It turns out that if you take one Tufts nerd who knows just north of nothing about weenie culture (me) and plop him in Dewick with two other Tufts nerds who are enamored by the art of The Game (Jonathan and Jif), you learn that some students are upset at the absence of weenies on campus.
Alright, now, get your mind out of the gutter and get it focused more on gutter balls. I’m talking about the weenies and accompanying junk food you get at sporting events.
The conversation quickly turned to their dissatisfaction of sports culture on campus. I, anything but a sports enthusiast, picked their brain on this for a bit.
I told them I was actually attracted to Tufts in part because its students downplay sports culture compared to other schools I’d been considering. I expected to get some response along the lines of “oh, c’mon, you have no school spirit” but was instead enlightened by how collegiate sports is more than just about school pride.
I’d asked them their thoughts on my go-to saying: “Go Sports!” In a very Tuftsian way, they agreed no one can say anything about my ambivalence to sports if that’s how I feel.
But they qualified that by noting how very few people regularly attend sporting events to cheer on our fellow ‘Bos.
I asked them what we, as a student body, could do to ameliorate this.
Jif stressed that students would be more inclined to go to games if they knew someone competing in them. To him, a weakened sports culture isn’t a by-product of our D3 status. Rather, the lack of interest to attend the meets themselves, combined with no strongly identifiable rival school, create a lack of investment to sports.
Jonathan took a slightly different approach: there is more to a successful game than just winning. In other words, while winning the game is important, the game itself provides a way by which spectators can create and foster friendships.
It’s not a matter of having an affinity to or dislike of sports; it’s about the social and fraternal nature of the event. He also suggested that Tufts provide transportation to away games. I learned that only half of men’s football games are held on campus. If we had greater facility of transport to away games, coupled with increased enthusiasm, we’d have what he calls “four more homecomings.”
They also suggested tailgating, which they both affectionately described as “a pool party without the pool.” In their eyes, tailgating is an easy solution: all you need are some weenies for a grillin’, and you’re set.