Something completely unexpected and amazing happened at the Pomona-Pitzer homecoming football game last Saturday.
No, I am not referring to the fact that the team snapped an 18-game losing streak. Nor the fact that in winning, they brought the Peace Pipe back to Pomona-Pitzer for the first time since 2006. Nor even the fact that running back Luke Sweeney PO ’13 broke the all-time school record for career rushing yards.
I am referring to something that was far more surprising: the fact that, in a feat previously thought to be impossible, the Sagehen crowd rivaled that of a Division I school on Saturday.
The stands? Packed. Standing room only.
The cheers? Rehearsed. Loud enough to fill every inch of the stadium and forceful enough to silence the few Claremont-Mudd-Scripps fans on the opposite side.
The aesthetics? Blue and orange as far as the eye could see.
Now, you might be thinking, so what? That happens at most CMS games. People attend and get drunk and cheer. I agree. They do that. I do not mean to say that rivalry games between P-P and CMS have not been well-attended and exciting before. Nearly every rivalry basketball game turns into an epic showdown of “safety school” chants and “CMS sucks” retorts.
But I would argue that this was something of a different sort, not motivated exclusively by a drunken desire to yell expletives at CMS fans but also by a far more powerful force: the force of free food brought to you by the Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) Sports Committee.
When I tell people that there is a group on campus called the ASPC Sports Committee they often cock their head to the side and give me a puzzled stare. They are shocked to discover that ASPC dedicates its resources to supporting attendance at sporting events. They often wonder why—before this year—they had never heard of such an organization.
Now this is not to say that the ASPC Sports Committee is unique this year because of the person in charge. The most glaring reason is the committee’s apparent discovery that nothing motivates people like free food.
At the homecoming game, they applied this principle with amazing accuracy. They encouraged attendance by enticing students with 15 boxes of free Donut Man donuts and the added bonus of hundreds of dollars’ worth of free spirit gear to any and all Sagehen fans who came. The model worked, and attendance at the game was astounding.
In praising the ASPC Sports Committee, I do not mean to take away from the incredible performance that occurred on the field, but rather want to briefly recognize the other winning performance of the day: the win that came from the fans. These fans got so into the atmosphere of the game that they sprinted back to their dorm rooms during halftime to retrieve drums to increase cheering volume. These fans learned how to play actual tunes accurately on plastic vuvuzelas. And these fans stormed the field after the buzzer sounded despite the lack of tension in the final minutes of the game.
I get that some people find soccer boring or football barbaric, and I understand that a love for P-P sports is not campus-wide. But I think it is important to remember that a desire for free food is universal, and, for that reason, the ASPC Sports Committee has something for each and every Pomona College student.