Earlier kickoff times would keep students in the stands
Editor’s note: This letter to the editor is a response to a column, "Where did the students go?" by Beau Troutman, published in the Monday, Oct. 10 issue of the Lanthorn.
After having some firsthand experience, actually five years of experience, with students leaving football games, I have been pondering this phenomenon. I have seen this almost evacuation of the stadium at halftime by our fellow Lakers at virtually every game I’ve been to.
Is it so the students can go get ready for the rest of the night? Is it the Taco Bell runs? One can only assume it’s a combination of multiple events like these. It is really a tragedy that our football team is left out in the cold, sometimes literally, with very few students to cheer them on.
I have found a way to remedy this situation. It starts with a question: Why do almost all of our football games start at 7 p.m.? If you look at a larger school like the University of Michigan or Michigan State or even Central Michigan, the majority of their games start earlier on in the day. Sure, they have a few night games, but that makes them so much more special and hyped up. They’re usually against a rival or some kind of big game for the team.
I propose that the majority of the GVSU football games should start earlier than 7 p.m. Why not? More people would stay after halftime. Who wants to go to get ready for the rest of the night at 5 p.m.? Who wants to go to Taco Bell at 3 p.m.? If Laker football were to kickoff at 1 p.m. or noon, more people would be obligated and willing to stay. Heck, even 4 p.m. would be fine. A lot of the away games the Lakers play at start earlier than 7 p.m., indicating that most other schools in our conference have made the change I, and so many others, propose.
This isn’t just to accommodate the students’ schedules, although that is a pretty good reason to make the change. It is pretty well known that Michigan weather can get brutal quickly. When you start to get into October and November, the weather is unpredictable and when you schedule games earlier in the year, you have no way of knowing what the weather will be like.
I remember a few years ago a game in the later part of November that kicked off at 1 p.m. It was supposed to be such a fun game, but at the time of kickoff the weather was close to zero degrees Fahrenheit. Not much fun. Why not enjoy our beautiful and warm Michigan weather before we lose it? Why wouldn’t we want games to start during the day to enjoy the sun a few more times before we lose it for a few months?
I went to the tailgate this past Saturday against Truman State, and it was so much fun. Being out there with your fellow Lakers during the day, having a great time is something that only happens a few years. The weather was perfect for a football game. That should be happening every Saturday when the Lakers are playing at home. A 4 p.m. kickoff was the best football game this year, from this student’s perspective.
Some might say that the students who leave at halftime are not real fans, or that the partying can wait until after the game. I would agree, but in this case, clearly this approach is not working. It is evident that not many students stay for the second half. Therefore, let’s try a different approach. Let’s make games start earlier.