By Jackson Jawaun
Pictures: McKendree University
In the shadow of the mainstream sports at McKendree live some successful programs. Programs that are not too known to the student body. From the outside looking in McKendree sports is much more than Football and Basketball. There is Bass Fishing, Bowling, Swimming, and many others who are all very successful yet unknown to the population of McKendree. These programs do not receive the same exposure as more popular sports, and for some their only platform is the athletic site which is expected but football is exposed to students through mediums of social media and McKendree email. Every person with a @McKendree.edu email receives a message about McKendree football coming almost a week in advance. It is known across campus rather if the team wins or loses and the status of the team is conversated all over campus. There is also a difference in how the mainstream sports are treated in the training room. In personal experience I have had staff dismiss my injuries as well as teammates due to the misconception of “Oh they’re just bowlers they don’t do much”. It has also been rumored that a certain coach of a McKendree team said that bowling should not be considered a sport because “you can drink while doing it”, with all hearsay put aside these forgotten teams of McKendree work their tails off for winning seasons. Of late, the Bass fishing team is ranked #2 in the nation by Cabela’s and has snatched the Illinois state championship. The swimming team has a few wins under their belt as well with an ongoing successful season underway. Now most of this information is accessible through our athletic website, but it is not celebrated in the same way. The more popular sports on campus are given supreme amounts of exposure win or lose from multiple outlets, and honestly, there is so much more to the school’s athletic department.
For example, there are 34 intercollegiate sports here at McKendree University. Nearly every day there is a McKendree team competing either here at home or away, though few games we have minimum knowledge of and the success of the teams are unknown. To be said in confidence McKendree athletics is highly accomplished, it is accomplished through all the hidden victories its sports teams obtain. Our student-athletes regardless of sport represent the old purple and white with such valor and pride but most of their efforts go unseen or unnoticed. Multiple McKendree teams go on to have winning seasons and post season triumphs but most of the school is blind to them until they win the championship. Women’s bowling for example won the 2017 NCAA Championship and people took notice only when the trophy ceremony was held with the cake being given out at Ames. Most people did not know about the annual tournament McKendree hosts or the nearby tournaments they participated in, all they seemed to notice was the championship. Same situation with the women’s soccer when they won back to back GLVC Championships, most people were ignorant of the achievement. For all sports there should be whooping and hollering all around no matter the height of the accomplishment.
To be clear I am not anti-football or any sport at this school I am only asking that students and faculty should be more aware of our school’s achievements no matter the team or program. With so many student-athletes on campus everybody should be due their credit when they represent this university through sports and other activities. In the end we are all Bearcats who bleed purple and for victory we will always fight!