Column: Big mess in ‘The Nest’

By on September 29, 2008

By Gavin Lapaille

All my life, I’ve dreamed about sitting amongst the “Cameron Crazies” at Duke University.
It’s hard not to be a little jealous. Every time I watch a Duke game on television, the students look like they are having the time of their lives and are actually having an impact on the game’s results.
They seem so organized. They seem so determined to help their team win in any way they can. Most of all, they seem so passionate about their team.
At the University of Louisville, I’ve never gotten that feeling. Too many times I find the student section half empty, or see more students interested in beer or text messaging than what is happening on the court.
So I was excited to hear about the athletic department’s involvement in raising student spirit, replacing the former official leaders in that role, The L-Raisers.
But I’ve grown a bit skeptical of the group known as “The Nest,” and it’s not completely their fault.
L-Raisers failed for a reason. It couldn’t find a way to get the majority of students involved. They couldn’t appeal to lifelong Cardinal fans who live and breathe this university. In essence, they couldn’t do their job.
So far, I’m getting that same feeling from “The Nest.”
I don’t hear students talking about it. There wasn’t much excitement when the name was announced during the Tennessee Tech football game. Overall, I don’t get the impression many students care.
And maybe that’s our fault. The athletic department has recognized there is a problem with the student section and how it acts during games. It appears they are attempting to fix that problem. It’s not their fault if the students don’t respond.
At the same time, for students to get involved with “The Nest,” it has to appeal to them on some level. It would help if students knew what the group was. Right now, all I can find about “The Nest” is a small amount of information on uoflsports.com that explains reasons to join and a form to sign up.
But there’s no link on the home page – you have to dig around to find it. I found out they held their first meeting last week, but that was only after another member of the newspaper forwarded me an e-mail.
And to put it bluntly, that’s pathetic. I’ve been a season ticket holder for four years now and I live and die with the results of this team. I’m the exact type of person “The Nest” needs to recruit in order to find the success that L-Raisers couldn’t. If they don’t, they are destined to fail for the exact same reasons.
It’s a shame too, because the student section at U of L has the potential to be as recognized as the “Cameron Crazies” and others across the nation. Students have proven they care about this team. They just need something to organize them that can reek havoc on opposing teams.
“The Nest” still has the chance to lead students on that path. The organization just needs to make sure to learn from the L-Raisers’ mistakes and reach out to the students they desperately need in order for the student section to fulfill its full potential.
Until that happens, I’ll just hold on to my dream of one day sitting amongst the “Cameron Crazies”, a student section that really knows how to cheer for their team.

About Michael Kennedy

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