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Darren Kilfara's column "Section 12: Chapter 11" (March 10) points out a serious but easily solved problem afflicting not just hockey but all Harvard sports: lack of fan support. There is no doubt that the fans--the "twelfth man"--are vital to a team's victory and overall success. Indeed, the Crimson icemen often play their toughest and most inspired hockey in Cornell's Lynah Rink, feeding off the intensity of the crowd and the atmosphere of the building, even when that crowd is rooting for the enemy. On the other hand, sparse attendance and collective apathy seem to characterize even the biggest games for all of Harvard's teams--even the most exciting spectator sports, like hockey, basketball, and football, have suffered from this lack of enthusiasm.
However, there are some easy solutions to this problem. "A new team," according to Kilfara, is the "easy answer," but there are far easier answers than that. One obvious problem with Harvard athletics is the distance from the campus to the athletic area--only the most die-hard fans are willing to walk all the way down across the river in freezing temperatures and rain, especially those students who live in the Quad. If the shuttle ran down there more often on game nights, attendance would undoubtably rise. As it is, the long trek and the frequently bad weather are major deterrents, discouraging fans who would otherwise pack the rink or the stadium.
Another problem is publicity. Some posters in the Yard and in the Houses would catch the eye and attract more fans. It's as simple as that: let people know there's a game, and make sure they can get there with minimal effort. It isn't much to ask, and with the increased fan support these measures would bring, maybe Harvard's teams--the hockey team in particular--can return to the glory of past years. The Crimson have a lot of potential and talent--maybe what they're missing is the attitude and incentive which come from a loud and involved crowd. There is a lot that the Athletic Department--and the University--can do to foster this atmosphere, and contribute to the "complete overhaul" which Kilfara is looking for. --Hillary Gould '00, Manager, Men's Varsity Ice Hockey
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