Home Sweet Homecoming

4,591 Monmouth students, alumni, fans and more showed up to the Homecoming game this past weekend against the number one team in the FCS, Coastal Carolina. Although the football team came up just short of arguably the biggest upset in our school’s history, the story lies outside the lines of Kessler Field. The attendance at Saturday’s game along with the environment it provided was something foreign to our West Long Branch campus. Rowdy, passionate, possibly intoxicated fans packed the bleachers to support their team. Those of us that went to the game understand, but words can’t describe the atmosphere.

As you pulled into the parking lot of the Multipurpose Activity Center, the mood was different. A normal football game for the Hawks might include a decent amount of tailgating and a few devoted fans having a good time outside the field pregame. For reference, the Hawks played host to the #22 ranked Liberty Flames and managed to knock them off 20-17 two weeks ago. That was the first and currently the only win over a national ranked opponent by the Hawks; 1,734 fans showed up to the game. Now that’s not terrible, if we were talking about our high school football teams, but we’re talking about a division one college football team.

There is no arguing that as a student body and more specifically The Outlook staff would love to see the average attendance at all of our athletic events rise, so what is stopping that from happening? To be honest, that is a harder question to answer than it sounds. Homecoming is special because it is a public place for everyone to get together, have a good time, catch up with alumni and enjoy a sport that so many of us follow. But if the only difference is the presence of alumni week after week, how do we replicate the scene at Monmouth Stadium from this past Saturday at every home game.

One Outlook editor said, “I think homecoming naturally draws a lot of students and alumni since it’s a popular college event no matter what school you go to. However, a lot of people attend the tailgate and then skip the game. I think MU could draw a bigger crowd for the game itself by placing a bigger focus on the team during the week leading up to the game and running promotions or something.”

That’s an interesting perspective, could the athletic department and school itself advertise more on campus for our athletic events? Could the problem not be getting people to the game but instead letting the student body know there even is a game? The schedule cards on the napkin holders in the Dining Hall and Student Center help to inform some of the student body, but outside those schedule cards and a few posters scattered around campus, students have to turn to either social media or the Monmouth Hawks website to see what game is up next. Could the solution be painting our campus blue and white with information pertaining to the next game?

Maybe all the student body needs is a winning team to get behind, now although we didn’t win last Saturday, the Hawks certainly made a good account of themselves and held their own against the number one team in the country. If a winning streak were to ensue, could this be the year Monmouth athletics finally takes the leap it’s so desperately been working towards?