Sports That Don't Get Enough Attention

Harvard Athletes Who Do Less Publicized Sports Don't Get a Lot of Fan Support

The glory of victory and the agony of defeat may be present in all sports, but that doesn't mean that the fans are.

Unlike the traditional sport giants like football and basketball, less publicized sports don't get the respect or support that they deserve, say many of their participants at Harvard.

The school offers 41 varsity sports, the most in the nation, several of which are nationally recognized. However, most Harvard students don't seem to care.

Rugby

For women's rugby junior co-captain Rebecca Wallison, lack of interest in her sport hinges upon its foreign origins.

"Rugby's not an American sport," Wallison said. "I had never even seen a game until I was a freshman."

She also said that there is a lot of misconceptions about the sport itself--such as violence and excessive drinking.

Citing the tradition of a "drink up" where teams celebrate together with beverage and song post-game, Wallison said that she felt that players are inaccurately perceived as drinkers.

"We're really trying to be acknowledged as athletes, not as a marginal social group, like many see rugby players," she said.

The misconception of the rough nature of the sport is also a problem for Wallison. Although she acknowledged that it is a close contact sport, she said that rugby is not as rough as many believe.

"It's a gentlemen's sport," Wallison said. "Rugby's a game for people who want a close contact sport but don't want to carry it too far."

Fencing

Similar to rugby, the international roots of fencing pose an obstacle to its support, said women's fencing co-captain Mallory Stewart.

She said that fencing has little recognition in the States, and is much more closely followed in Europe.

This fact makes the sport seem elitist to many people, Stewart said.