With the Wake Forest Spring Game set for 3 PM on Saturday at Groves Stadium I believe that this is the perfect time to get up on my soapbox and preach a little bit about giving the football team the support that it deserves to have.
While I of course believe that every Wake Forest sport deserves support of alums, boosters, students, and fans alike, it is obviously human nature to pull harder and be more devoted to teams that are successful.
Well if you want successful, then I will go ahead and tell you that this Wake Forest football team has a chance to be something special and it deserves as much support as the fans can possibly give it this season.
That support starts on Saturday at the Spring Game. I know it’s not going to be the best weather ever, but do you think the Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State, and litany of other football powerhouse school fans give a damn about some cold weather and some snowflakes?
No, they don’t. They go fill their stadiums to near capacity to watch a glorified scrimmage that takes place some 5 months before the next football game that counts.
You know why? Because that is what big-time football schools do. They bring an ungodly amount of support, enthusiasm, and boozed up excitement as possible to the Spring Game, and that carries into every single home game in the fall
Attendance and support matters folks.
It matters for recruiting, it matters for crowd noise, it matters for keeping successful coaches who may be looking at other schools and their fan support and comparing it to what he has currently.
For years the Wake fan base has been clamoring for a team on the gridiron that we can all be proud of. 2006-08 exceeded a lot of fans wildest dreams as to what Wake Forest football was capable of.
What if I told you that this season Wake could have a “magical” run like 2006 all over again, except this time it is with the ACC Atlantic starring as one of the best divisions in all of college football?
Do I believe that Wake Forest will win the ACC Championship? Of course it’s not the number one statistically likely scenario in my head, but given the roster that Dave Clawson and his staff has put together I do not think contending and possibly winning the Atlantic Division is out of the question at all.
Over the past few years Ron Wellman, Bob McCreary, the Board of Trustees, and alums all over have put more resources towards football than, quite frankly, I ever thought Wake Forest would.
This support has resulted in a fantastic coaching staff led by Dave Clawson that is the one of the best possible representations of Wake Forest.
It has led to back-to-back bowl wins in two outstanding cities and two outstanding football games.
It has led to facilities that can compete with some of the powerhouses in college football and makes high school athletes want to come here.
It has led to the amazing Deacon Tower that is one of the best looking “press boxes” in the nation,
Most importantly —-it has led to a football team that every single Wake Forest fan should want to go watch play live on Saturdays, regardless of the weather or circumstances.
The one glaringly obvious thing missing in my opinion from Wake Forest right now is the consistent, raucous atmosphere that so many other football programs have.
This isn’t meant as a knock on the fan base that Wake has. We are an extremely passionate and loyal fan base, but it’s a sheer numbers game, and the Deacs will never be able to compete with a lot of teams in the country in raw numbers, but we can certainly help make Groves Stadium a place that opposing teams do not want to visit.
At 31,500 on its best day, Groves Stadium isn’t a large stadium, but it is a beautiful stadium, and it needs to be filled by predominantly Wake Forest fans if we want to maintain a home field advantage that can help the team pull through in close games. That hasn’t always been the case, and it wasn’t necessarily the case in some key games last year.
If we as fans want to continue to sit behind a keyboard and “talk” about how we want Wake to compete with the big boys then we have got to get out there and support the team like the big boys do.
Ned wrote an article similar to this during football season last year before the undefeated Demon Deacons hosted the winless Seminoles, and I thought he summed it up perfectly with this paragraph:
Attendance is a funny thing in that once you hit a certain level of support, going to a game doesn’t just become an option for a casual fan, it become THE option. People want to be a part of big crowds, and if a victory in front of a sell out stadium makes folks that much more interested in coming back, then we could be on the verge of developing a really fun atmosphere here for years to come.
What we can do is make going to a Wake Forest football game one of the marquee events on Saturdays in Winston-Salem. The football team has done pretty much everything in its power to get fans “in the door”, now we just have to fill the damn seats.
Students need to come out in force and stay the whole game, young alums need to make it a goal to get season tickets, or at least get up to 3-4 games depending on where they live, and the folks of Winston-Salem need to embrace the team as its own.
This football team has a chance to be one of the best in Wake Forest history, and it needs all of us to rally behind it and show everybody out there what we are capable of.
Once again, that starts on Saturday at the Spring Game, where I want to see one of the best attendances in Wake Forest history.
If you have not bought season tickets yet then what are you waiting on? Call the Deacon Club Ticket Office (336-758-DEAC). Visit the Wake Forest website. Get your kids to join the Junior Deacon Club (also available through the website or calling). There are very reasonable ticket prices out there, especially for the amount of entertainment value you get from tailgating and football.
I cannot stress enough that this team deserves your support. For all the negativity that goes on during basketball season, the football team is exactly what we have been asking for all these years, and we owe Dave Clawson, his staff, and the players suiting up every week our attendance, excitement, and noise to help win games.