If you build it, will they come?
With last year’s football team undefeated in regular season play and the men’s soccer bringing home the ECAC South Championship, we can be sure that the lack of attendance at campus sporting events has little to do with team performance. Now that we have won the battle against other college sports teams, we have to start fighting the battle here at home against ingrained routines and general disinterest.
Housing and Dining’s answer to this epic problem is the Tartans Pavilion, a new dining facility located between the Gesling Stadium and West Wing and Resnick residence halls. The Pavilion will include a wood-fired pizza oven, big screen TVs, and glass garage doors – a sort of California Pizza Kitchen meets ESPN Zone meets Coffee Tree Roasters.
Now, simply putting a restaurant next to the football field is not going to be a hard and fast solution to our ongoing struggle with apathy. As the old adage goes, you can lead a horse to wood-fired pizza, but you can’t make him take pride in the football team. What the new facility has the potential to do, however, is fill in the most basic piece of the puzzle: getting more students in the stadium during games.
The biggest hurdle is convincing students who would not normally be anywhere near Gesling on a Friday night that it’s a fun, active, and worthwhile place to be. Hopefully, the Pavilion will craft a routine around getting food, watching sports, and having fun.
If taking the time to sit in the stands and watch a game is unappealing or just too unfamiliar, perhaps watching the game while also eating dinner and catching up on some reading will feel more like good old Carnegie Mellon multitasking. Once the routine has developed, we might find we have some real grassroots interest in Carnegie Mellon sports on our hands. Maybe then we can give Notre Dame a call and tell them we’re ready to reopen that vintage, 1938 can of whoop-ass.