As a sports fan, I have long heard talk of the “East Coast Bias” favoring the East Coast and Mid West teams over West Coast teams. I always thought this was stupid and the West Coast teams were just as good. But on a recent trip to the Midwest, I witness why this “bias” is in fact true.
While visiting a friend at the University of Oklahoma, I got to go to the OU/ Iowa State game. Although the game was a crushing by Oklahoma, the outcome was not what impressed me. It was the fans. The crowd stood the entire game, with only brief breaks for timeouts and quarter breaks. The crowd was so loud and focused on the game, even when the outcome had long been decided. They all knew chants and cheers by heart and screamed wildly after every great play.
Now I have been to my share of college football games from USC, UCLA, and Arizona State, but nothing was even close to this environment. For as long as I can remember, USC fans always complained about how they were unfairly biased, and I used to believe it. But not anymore. The dedication of fans for Midwest/ East Coast teams isn’t even close to anything on the west coast. But it doesn’t stop with just college football. The craziness is only worse when attending a high school football game.
On the same trip I went to a Southlake Carroll vs. Keller High School game in Texas. This was unlike anything I had ever witnessed even from big time football programs in California including Mater Dei, Mission Viejo, and Newport Harbor. The football program at Southlake is one of the best in the country producing elite college football players like Chase Daniels who played at Mizzou and Greg McElroy who currently plays at Alabama. After winning a BCS National Championship last year, he lost recently this year for the first time since 7th grade. Not only is the product on the field top notch, but also the facilities are equal. The school recently unveiled a new high definition scoreboard that costs over one million dollars, something many Division 1 college programs don’t even have.
Now in no way am I saying that West Coast teams aren’t as competitive and don’t have loyal fans. The fact is merely that the culture of football is on two completely different playing fields. While teams like the University of Oregon produce a fantastic product featuring speed and electrifying plays, the culture around the football team is what is different. They too have crazy fans, which have been claimed to be the loudest in the nation, but it isn’t quite the same. How many people have ever watched a Duke Blue Devil basketball game? The fans hop up and down and scream the entire game, something not seen with West Coast teams, especially those in the Los Angeles area.
Now, the question is can we at Vanguard be that supportive of our sports teams? As a student at Vanguard, we all know athletes on some team at school. Let’s start supporting the great teams our school has to offer: whether it be the consistent winners in Cross country, Tennis, and Women’s basketball, or the burgeoning programs like swimming, water polo, and the new men’s basketball. They all deserve our support and to play games in front of “fanatics” like we see the NCAA Division 1 fans provide. We have an advantage of actually being able to know the athletes at our school on a personal basis, so lets take advantage of it and show our support for the Lions.