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GRESKA: #bringwadetomadness

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Andrei Greska

This is not another “why doesn’t Marquette have a football team” column. There have been enough of those.

As awesome as it would be to have someone to root for on Saturday afternoons without having to betray the essence of being a Golden Eagle fan — I’m talking to you, Bucky fans — it ain’t happening.

Yet, not having a pigskin-throwing team doesn’t have to bar us from enjoying some of the benefits of football season. I want the pageantry. I want the passion. I want the school spirit.

I’m talking about a homecoming game.

Obviously it’s difficult to have a homecoming football game without a football team — sorry club football, you don’t count. We do have a women’s volleyball team though. And both men’s and women’s soccer teams.

Most importantly, we have basketball. Really good basketball.

I propose we make Marquette Madness, Oct. 14, our “homecoming game.”

This is something we need. Our student body is pathetic at supporting our teams. Whether it’s volleyball at the Al McGuire Center, soccer at Valley Fields or basketball at the Bradley Center, we are consistently underwhelming. We fail to provide a proper home court advantage to our teams.

Just this past weekend, the women’s soccer team played No. 20/24 Notre Dame, the defending national champions, and only 395 people were in attendance. How many of those were students? Probably about 50, given how well Notre Dame fans travel.

It wasn’t any better at the Al either. As the women’s volleyball team devastated the South Florida Bulls, all of 240 people were in attendance. Of those people, I could count on my hands the number of students there and four of them were covering the game for this newspaper.

It’s almost embarrassing seeing the apathetic nature of our fans. Both teams are very good this year and have a chance of winning Big East titles. Yet, less than 100 combined students bothered to go watch.

Marquette needs an event to bring the student body out of its doldrums. Marquette Madness is packed year after year, so why not add a little excitement to that whole week?

At Western Illinois, student groups and organizations compete against each other during the homecoming week in a variety of events, including attendance at games, dance-offs and boat races.

During the fill-the-gym event for a women’s volleyball game, Western Illinois packed 826 people for the game, a whopping 639 more than its average attendance before then.

We could do that. Easily.

There are three games the week of Madness beginning with women’s volleyball and soccer on Sunday, Oct. 9, and followed by men’s soccer that Wednesday. Create incentives for these groups to attend, and I guarantee increased attendance figures.

On top of that, let’s get a common theme running through the school. During the Sweet 16 run last spring, the three-goggles became a Marquette symbol. Students, athletes and alumni all embraced it.

His Majesty Dwyane Wade was asked to come to Madness by senior guard Darius Johnson-Odom on Twitter, and we’re running with it.

I propose a hashtag that our basketball blog “Paint Touches” originated as our theme: #bringwadetomadness.

Anyone with a Twitter or Facebook account, which should cover 99.9 percent of the student population, must use the hashtag at least once a day starting now. Once we get enough people in on it, we will begin to coordinate tweet times with the ultimate goal of getting it to trend nationally and having Wade come to Madness.

Homecoming will only be considered a success if we can get Flash to show up.

The gauntlet has been thrown. You truly want the “football experience,” then put your Tweets where your mouth is. We are Marquette, and we can make this happen.

#bringwadetomadness

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