Is there really a “new era” of football at Columbia? If you believe the Columbia Football Twitter feed, then sure. The Lions have broken The Streak, ending a historical epoch and sending us tenuously into a brighter future. Columbia wants students to get excited. The team is practicing on the lawns, Baker Field is allowing tailgate parties, and football games are no longer automatic losses. If there has been a time to get excited about Lions football, now would be it, right? To gauge the student body’s response to the win and readiness for homecoming, we went out to college walked. Wearing our Columbiest Blue, we heard what passers-by had to say about the team. Some students hadn’t yet heard the gospel:
Bwog: Did you hear that the Lions won a football game?
- “Uh, no. That’s wonderful.”
- “Did they win?”
- “I thought it was a rumor at first.”
A few students sounded pretty excited!
- “That’s incredible!”
- “That’s great, congratulations.”
- “Yeah!” *rigorous nod*
A couple sounded a little too excited.
- *bro woo*
- *woo from afar*
But listen to what these students had to say about the streak ending:
- “I was perturbed. I was really looking forward to finishing college without them having ever won a game.”
- “I didn’t celebrate the death of the streak. That’s terrible.”
- “It was almost a really fantastic losing streak.”
While most people on College Walk knew that Columbia football had ended its losing streak, nobody wearing anything other than Columbia-brand gym shorts sounded genuinely excited. The losing streak was part of Columbia’s identity. Now that it’s gone, the football team is no longer exceptionally bad, but merely disappointingly bad. Football still has the ability to become an moderately proficient team. But don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that a new era has truly begun.
Think of Columbia Football like the Hundred Years’ War. There were times when no immediately conflict was occurring, but looking back on the period, we still consider it one era. Lions Football has been consistently bad for decades, with token winning seasons temporarily breaking up the mediocrity. I can’t prescribe when exactly we can say that a new era has begun, but one win does not make a successful team.
The lack of enthusiasm from students is understandable. The team has been embroiled in controversy for the last few years, and it hasn’t had any of the success which seems to cover up athletic scandals at other universities. But at the same time, standing out on college walk, a fan among students, felt alienating. The football players were mobbed on the field after their victory last weekend – but around campus, there isn’t that same enthusiasm. So do come out to the homecoming pep rally and get your free merchandise. And do cheer on the boys in blue at the game tomorrow. Maybe we’re on our road to a new era, and maybe we’re still mired in our war. Either way, enjoy yourself, and be aware that some kind of history is being written.