Recent wins spark student body passion

With Phillies Phever and the men’s basketball teams’ success, fan interest is way up.

Anyone who lives on campus heard it or saw it.

Hundreds of students, running and parading through Liacouras Walk, through the streets, cars honking their horns, mosh pits, spur-of-the-moment sprints to City Hall, just absolute mayhem.
Why? Because the Phillies won the National League pennant.

That achievement, especially for a predominately Philadelphia area-raised student population, prompted one of the biggest and most ridiculous parties Temple has ever seen.

The videos are on YouTube, the pictures on Facebook, the drunken memories of that night live in Internet fame.

And it’s that fact, that Temple students went that crazy, that they collectively gathered together and celebrated as a student body. It was so surprising because there’s no sense in lying about it or trying to paint the picture better than it is: Temple’s student body doesn’t have a whole lot of school spirit.

But that’s understandable, considering how many students commute and how many live in Center City or South Philly or the Northeast or somewhere off in the suburbs. They might be on Main Campus two days a week, and how can you really feel part of a larger Temple community when you spend most of your time somewhere else?

That’s probably why sporting events are often so sparsely attended here, save for the occasional football game against Penn State or basketball game against Duke, Maryland or Saint Joseph’s.

And despite this lack of community the students seem to have here, one that is so ever-present in State College, Pa., or any other college town across America, you had a giant celebration on North Broad Street for the Phillies two weeks ago that rivaled anything in the city outside of the mob scene on Frankford and Cottman avenues in the Northeast.

Last March, you had a large student presence in Atlantic City, N.J., as the men’s basketball team captured the Atlantic Ten Championship (that came during Spring Break, mind you). The next day, there were a number of people congregated with the team at the Draught Horse to see where the Owls were seeded in the NCAA Tournament.

So Temple students, those lazy Temple students who routinely go home on the weekends and move out of North Philly by their junior years, proved they can be legitimate college students who support their athletic teams.

It’s just those teams need to win.

Now, I’m not playing the role of Jimmy Rollins and calling Temple fans frontrunners, it’s just they are not Kentucky, Kansas or North Carolina with basketball. They’re not Ohio State, Notre Dame or Oklahoma with football. There’s not the same tradition of national championships, Top 25 rankings and unblemished media love from ESPN and the like.

Instead, let’s be real: this is Philly. This is Temple. On a Saturday afternoon in the fall, you could go the Art Museum or walk down South Street or go to the Franklin Institute. On a Wednesday night in the cold of January and February, you could go to the TLA for a concert or to a Flyers game or out to a restaurant. There are other things going on besides sporting events.

But the bottom line is the passion is there, the dedication is there, the interest is there. It’s just the results have to be, too.

Considering this is a major city, the non-revenue teams like men’s soccer or softball, or even ones that play on campus like volleyball or field hockey, will continue to get no love from the general public and student body.

However, the men’s basketball team’s return to glory last season resparked interest and expectations in a program that was dormant for a half-decade. The football team is no longer the laughingstock of college football, and sure it has a ways to go, but it is competitive now and might even luck its way into the Mid-American Championship game, thanks in large part to an extraordinarily weak MAC East Division.

But like pretty much all sports fans, the only thing Temple students care about are results. And if those results can continue to be positive ones for the big teams on campus, then maybe Temple students can shed that reputation and deliver positive results in the stands.

Todd Orodenker can be reached at

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