Every Boston College student knows the annoying, unsportsmanlike fan that can be found occasionally at games in Conte Forum and Alumni Stadium. The drunk, rude, or uncontrollable fan who yells obscenities blindly at the other team is an annoyance at any sporting event.
A new initiative sponsored by the BC Athletic Department and the University’s Center for Student Formation will work to combat such fans by encouraging better sportsmanship at athletic events on campus.
“Our goal was to take a look at some of the things that go on at games and see how we can proactively promote good sportsmanship,” said Jamie DiLoreto, associate athletic director, external relations.
A video released early last week made by Sean Casey, A&S ’12, and his brother, Kevin Casey, BC ’04, was the first step in the process. The video featured the words of then United States senator John F. Kennedy in his 1956 commencement address.
In his speech, Kennedy urged those graduating from the “Jesuit Ivy” to be the very best in every aspect of their lives.
“The goal of the video was to bring the student community together,” DiLoreto said. “We want students to take a look at what it means to be a BC student.”
To accomplish their goal of improving sportsmanship, the Athletic Department will be sponsoring an undergraduate video contest with cash prizes beginning in January. The initiative will emerge in the form of undergraduate-produced videos, centered on the theme “you’re better than that.” Each month, the Athletics Department will choose a video that best embodies the theme, award prizes of cash and BC gear, and share the video on its website.
“Our goals are to highlight the expectations but also incentivize great behavior,” DiLoreto said.
When speaking about the new initiative, DiLoreto mentioned that he hopes the effort will spread through students in a grassroots manner.
“From a marketing strategy, we wanted to support students to be the leaders as part of the partnership to improve sportsmanship,” DiLoreto said.
When creating the program, DiLoreto and the Athletic Department also met with Rev. Jack Butler, S.J., vice president of mission and ministry, and Michael Sacco, director of the Center for Student Formation.
“When we were meeting with campus ministry and the Center for Student Formation, we realized that there are some opportunities to grow beyond athletics and make [the campaign] University-wide,” DiLoreto said.
Because of this wide-reaching message, the theme “you’re better than that” will apply not only to obnoxious fans at sporting events, but also to the student who loudly answers their cell phone on the fifth floor of O’Neill Library, or the student who spills his or her coffee all over the floor of Hillside Cafe and leaves without cleaning it up.
Though DiLoreto said that there are problems with sportsmanship, he also emphasized that such difficulties are universal to sports.
“Sportsmanship is a universal challenge that’s emphasized more based on the sport or the team that we’re playing,” DiLoreto said. “Our goal is that we want to be a family friendly environment and we want to emphasize the appropriate things that we expect while engaging our students and fans in general.”