|Friday, September 29, 2000||
Volume 66, Issue 29
Voter apathy gets us nowhere fast
|Letters to the Editor
A challenge to all Cougars
To the editor:
A little less than a week ago, I had the distinct pleasure of watching our football team go down to defeat -- albeit an honorable one -- in Austin against the Longhorns of the University of Texas. No, this is not another letter about how UT fans are stuck-up snobs who were just trying to run up the score to improve their position in the polls.
Instead, I'm afraid I have to admit that I'm envious of UT. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud to go to the University of Houston. However, UT has something that we just don't have: school spirit.
Let me set the stage for you. Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin seats 85,000 people. The attendance was about 82,000. There were about 2,000 Cougar fans there. That leaves about 80,000 Longhorn fans.
These same fans, although somewhat rude to us poor, outnumbered Cougars, were so devoted to their football team that I actually felt inadequate as I left the stadium. Every time their band played the Texas fight song, 80,000 people sang right along with it. Every time UT scored a touchdown, 80,000 people cheered with all their hearts. This was not like any other UH game I'd ever been to.
The last UH game I went to, I saw 20,000 Cougar fans at Robertson Stadium as the Coogs battled Army. When our team was a little down on their luck in the fourth quarter, a lot of fans started to leave. But as we scored that last touchdown that put us up for good, 31-30, all the remaining Cougar fans, some 10,000 strong, burst into thunderous applause that lasted almost 15 seconds.
The Coogs have a talented team this year. We've got a four-year starter at quarterback, enormous depth at the wide receiver position, a strong running game and a defense that only gave up 20 points to the UT offense.
So why aren't we winning? I'd like to venture a guess: fan support. Sure, a sold-out Robertson Stadium might not be quite as impressive as a sold-out Memorial Stadium, but I'd sure love to see us find out.
Therefore, I'm issuing a challenge to all UH students who read this: Come out and cheer for our Cougars. Show some school spirit. Sing the fight song. Show off your Cougar paw with pride. You get in free with your Cougar 1Card; just show it to the person at the gate.
If we pack Robertson Stadium for one of our football games, whether we win or lose, we're proving that not only are our fans better-behaved than UT's, but they're just as loyal. Go Coogs!
Matthew E. Caster
To the editor:
I am a 1989 graduate of the University of Texas and am currently a student in UH's Personal Financial Planning program. I was in attendance at Saturday night's football game between Texas and UH. I cannot express my most profound embarrassment over the poor sportsmanship displayed by my fellow Longhorns in attendance.
My father went to UH and I grew up watching and supporting Cougar football and basketball. I have always had a tremendous respect for the University of Houston as a premier institution. Likewise, I have always had pride in the school I graduated from, the University of Texas.
Sadly, the environment in Austin has changed tremendously since I was a student there in the late '80s. The raucous crowd Saturday night reminded me of gluttonous Romans in the Coliseum, slothfully seeking carnage while totally disregarding basic sportsmanship and human decency.
First, the Longhorn fans booed their own team when the offense failed to move the ball in the first few plays of the game. Second, the Longhorn fans repeatedly chanted "Houston sucks" after a Houston penalty. Third, the Longhorn fans booed the Cougar Band as it entered the field for its performance. Fourth, the Texas coaches were still going for more points until the game's last second instead of taking a knee to end a blowout game with class.
There is an inscription on the front of the main building at the University of Texas that reads, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." This week, I have accepted the sad truth that my alma mater has created an environment that places too high an emphasis on football and winning, and not enough on the higher ideals a university is supposed to instill. What lessons are the student athletes learning in Austin from being booed by their own fans? It is unacceptable to me to be a part of this environment.
I am proud to be a student at the University of Houston, and my recent association with UH has been a tremendous help to me in my professional life. I vow to be in attendance at next year's Texas game singing "Cougars fight for dear old U of H," a song I have known by heart since I was 7 years old but have not sung in a long time.
Letters to the editor are welcome from all members of the UH community and should focus on issues, not personalities. Letters must be typed and must include the author's name, telephone number and affiliation with the University. Anonymous letters will not be published. Letters are subject to editing for clarity, language and space. Letters may be delivered in person to Room 151, Communication; e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org; or faxed to (713) 743-5384.