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Sports Letterbox: Time to step up and support local sports

As I sat and watched the Memorial University Sea-Hawks play the UPEI Panthers recently, I looked around and could not help but notice the lack of fans attending these games.

The Field House seats roughly 1,170 people, but there are fewer than 160 in attendance, and that included the members of the UPEI women's team.

The name has been changed many times over the years — CIAU, CIS and most recently, U Sports. In Canada, it’s the northern-based cousin of the NCAA, and in the U.S., the NCAA, as we all know, is a hot commodity of sold out venues for just about every game. It rakes in an untold fortune.

But up north, the same cannot be said.

Here in St. John’s, it is even more confusing considering we have a pro basketball team that leads most attendance figures in the NBL Canada.

So many times we hear people use lack of money or funding as an excuse as to why or why not we do not have certain things in our city. A lot of the problem really seems to be that we don't know how to get out of her own way most of the time.

Considering that no matter what, people seem to find the money to do the things that they want to do if it's provided for them. But as Newfoundlanders, sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Often, we are met with the negative attitude, “Oh, that will never work here” or “Go on, no one will like that.”

How many times have you heard that? This was the case when it was announced a professional basketball was coming to town and people said, “This is not a basketball town” and, “that will never work here.”

Those naysayers are definitely wrong. It's been a continued success game after game, and I think it's about time that we embrace more here in our city — for the sake of growth, for the sake of our own entertainment.

People are always complaining that there's never anything to do. But there's lots to do, and there could be even more if you just live outside the box and open your mind a little bit more to the possibilities that exist.

Hockey fans don't support local hockey and basketball fans don't support local basketball. Because it's not an NHL team or an NBA team does not mean it is not professional sports.

I was initially skeptical, but once you let your guard down and give things a chance, you're often times very surprised at how much you can enjoy something that you once never considered.

People say there's nothing to do or that we have nothing here, and then do not support teams like the Edge and Growlers. Yet, if those teams relocate somewhere, people complain about it. But they never gave support while they were here.
Will we ever learn?

Jason Pike

St. John’s

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