In our opinion: Record crowd shows students support college sports

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    Going over the Rainbow gave Cougar fans something to cheer about.

    The best men’s volleyball team in the nation wears BYU blue and white. Friday night it had 14,156 fans cheering it on, leaving the old attendance record of 10,225, set by Hawaii, far back in the distance. It was the most people to see a men’s volleyball match in NCAA volleyball’s 28-year history.

    BYU’s 3-1 (15-9, 11-15, 17-15, 15-7) victory over the seventh-ranked Rainbows did more than simply validate the Cougars’ ranking. It proved how avidly BYU students support the team.

    The home court advantage Friday night was huge. The overwhelming energy from fans cheering at the top of their lungs, the noise and the amazing support of a filled Marriott Center carried BYU through a tooth-pulling third game. Then the fans lived it up as Hawaii handed over the last game. After the game, BYU players and coaches commented on how energizing the crowd was for them.

    The football team has filled Cougar Stadium regularly, with the help of many alumni. Fans come out in droves to see the WAC’s top program perform for four hours on six fall afternoons. While no sport comes close to football in attendance, volleyball may well be becoming the sport of choice for BYU students.

    The crowd at Friday’s game was evidence of the student’s adoration for this team. Many from the community came out to support the team, but the dominant majority of the record-setting crowd was students.

    The rules and terminology of volleyball are easy to learn. It doesn’t take years of devotion to learn the game.

    The games are fan friendly. Music between serves boosts the crowd for the next serve, and there are only a dozen players for the crowd to know. Many students have seen the volleyball team up close in the Smith Fieldhouse, where they can see the expressions on the team’s faces. The player’s on-court personalities are more accessible and make the game more meaningful.

    Volleyball is a game both male and female students have played and know the basics of. The action is just the right pace for fans to get psyched up over and still be able to see the action if they blink.

    The fans created a magical evening for the volleyball team Friday night. The record and the victory was sweet for both the team and the fans.

    Hopefully, fans won’t go on with life and forget what happened over the weekend. The volleyball team is still ranked No. 1, and more exhilarating moments are waiting to be had. Second-ranked UCLA, a traditional volleyball power, visits the Smith Fieldhouse this weekend. BYU will need more fan support to overcome the Bruins and establish itself as the team to beat in this year’s NCAA tournament.

    Coach Carl McGown and all the team members deserve congratulations for the fine team they’ve assembled that represents our university so well. And the BYU students deserve a pat on the back for coming out and supporting a less-traditional sport. Keep it up.

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