I have come to the realization that I will never play professional baseball. To be quite honest, I am okay with that because as my time here at Lesley has progressed, I have discovered new passions that hold true to my heart. However, growing up I only had one passion; that was baseball. For the past sixteen years, it is something that has been central in my life. The spring and summer months were like heaven to me because I knew that meant weeknight games and weekend long tournaments. Today, I am beyond blessed to play baseball at the collegiate level. I have been given the opportunity to play the game that I have always adored for an extra four years.
Coming to Lesley, I knew that there were no fields, athletic facilities, etc. However, it was the one school that offered both the opportunity to receive an education and play baseball immediately. It was an offer I couldn’t pass up; almost too good to be true. So, as I made my first career college start, I looked around, soaked it all in, and realized one thing: there was no one there. I mean yes, there were parents supporting their children, but other than that, no one. Not one of my friends, no classmates, no teachers. I figured, “Oh they will come to the next game.” But on my next start, the same thing happened again. As the season progressed, I became increasingly shocked and confused. In high school, I always had friends and classmates, even teachers, supporting the team I played for. I figured at the next level of competition, there would always be support no matter what. And to see no one at a collegiate baseball game was very disappointing.
And therein lies a problem. Here at Lesley, we try to promote the idea of “community.” However, how can we say we live in a community if there is a lack of support for not only the baseball team, but for all the athletic teams at Lesley? It is an issue that must be addressed and it starts with the fact that Lesley Baseball, Lesley Soccer, Basketball, etc. all do not play at a facility that is on or near the campus. Home games for the baseball team are forty-five minutes away in Northborough, Massachusetts. In reality, who wants to spend a Saturday afternoon traveling that far? While BB&N is a great option, it really isn’t a feasible one. It too is a long distance from campus– over twenty minutes away on foot, a journey that isn’t pleasing to anyone.
In writing this article, I asked a few students on campus why more students don’t support our teams. All of them mentioned the lack of facilities. Isabella Dillon, a sophomore here at Lesley gave a comment I heard a lot: “If Lesley had our own stadium, it would be easier to take interest in athletic events.” However, that’s still not an excuse for the lack of support our athletes face. At the end of the day, if we really want to live in a community, that means offering unconditional support. To see some familiar faces in the crowd just once a week would be something not only I, but all the athletes at Lesley, would genuinely appreciate.
Getting to the games is not impossible. There are tools that we have at our disposal, but they are not utilized. The most important one is the “Fan Van.” Fan Vans are Lesley Vans that leave from Mellen Street about a half-hour or so before any athletic event. You could easily ride over with your friends, and cheer us on when we are playing. I encourage more students to get informed about these vans, and to make use of them.
I understand that here at Lesley, we don’t live in a perfect community, and we don’t have everything we might want. However, some of the obstacles, like finding ways to support the teams, do have solutions. One thing that would help is for each and every one of us to make the effort to support each other. Haley Kinnon, a freshman here at Lesley, addressed the lack of support for the teams. She said, “We aren’t a sports school. Since we aren’t a sports school, we don’t generate school spirit. I came from a small town that was centered around sports, specifically football.” Again, I understand we are not exclusively a sports school, but we do have some great players, and we all work hard to win our games. In the coming months, as I step on the mound ready to pitch, I only hope that this time, when I look up, I will see a few fans. It would really motivate me. One message of positivity can go a long way, whether it’s on the baseball field or in the classroom. And showing up in person is the best way to give those words of encouragement!