Hey ’Cats. Now that we’re midway through the fall 2010 season, I thought I’d take a minute to step away from analyzing sports and look to the heart of some Linfield aspects that I only fully realized recently.
Linfield has a lot of love, in terms of its sporting teams. In fact, this might be the most lovely campus I have ever seen or heard of. Yes, even more than the football titan that is the University of Oregon, which lies only a few, short hours away. Linfield loves its teams, and they love it back.
Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you (unless you’re just basing your disagreement on Division-III hate, in which case you don’t matter). After all, Linfield is small; this fact is readily apparent in our new slogan and symbol.
Ignoring the obvious chance for a phallic joke, the small Linfield community is indeed a powerful one. Our football program, holder of the NCAA all-divisions record for consecutive winning seasons, has consistent fan support pour in through large attendance at home games.
Alumni, who have loved their Linfield since their first tentative steps through Melrose Hall, come out for these games in droves.
Heck, we even have a pretty decent tailgating scene on Saturday mornings in the south parking lot out by Ford Hall.
And if anyone tries to tell you that Linfield sports are a one-trick pony (football), think again.
The women’s soccer team is having a season that has surpassed all expectation. They are in the thick of the conference race and are playing some inspired ball right now, and it has not gone unnoticed. Attendance at these games has seen a noticeable increase.
That’s right, folks; the students respond when their sports teams need them to. The uptick in fan support for our ladies has no doubt had an impact.
As someone who is not an athlete, I can’t say I personally relate; but as a theater major, I know that when the house is packed on a show night, I bring my “A+” game every time.
In turn, the athletes pour their souls into this school’s sports teams. I don’t think many of you realize just how loyal Linfield’s athletes are to the Old Oak and all it stands for.
Take senior quarterback Aaron Boehme. I’ve been able to talk with him often in my short time at Linfield while writing about the football team, and one day last spring, I had a curious question in the back of my mind. Boehme is a stellar athlete, sure, but with graduation looming and a year of eligibility left, he had some decisions to make. Luckily, I found him on Facebook one night, and I asked him these questions: “Are you planning on coming back next year?” and “What do you want to do after graduation?” His answers were indicative of the aforementioned truths about Linfield athletics.
“Yes, I’m coming back,” he said. “And when I graduate, I want to teach high school. Maybe coach some day.”
Do you follow me, Linfield? Are you picking up what I’m putting down? Boehme doesn’t have plans to play after college.
Coming back for his senior year wouldn’t boost his draft stock or get him any closer to becoming a teacher. If anything, it could only put him at risk to seriously hurt himself during the course of the season. But his drive to win a national championship for this school is so deep, so all-pervasive and so passionate that he put his career plans on hold to come out for one last go-around and try to bring glory to Linfield and all its students.
That’s what I call loyalty, and that’s what I call love.
How often in Division-I programs do we see amazing athletes spurn their colleges to make the jump to the pros and chase the almighty dollar? Sam Bradford did it; Mark Sanchez did it. But that is something you will never see a Linfield athlete do.
Students, your athletes love you, and they love this school. So give a little love this week — for them and for what it stands for.
Chris Forrer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.