To the Student Body: Support UNCW Sports

McLeod Brown | Sports Editor

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The last three years serving as Sports Editor of The Seahawk have afforded me opportunities I had no idea I would be able to engage in before I came to UNCW.

I had limited journalism experience in high school, and came in, just like almost every freshman, really unsure of what I wanted to pursue as a career. Fortunately, I met the right people, got involved early, and here I am in my last semester as Sports Editor comfortable with my accomplishments with The Seahawk.

Now, this column is not a paper for patting me on the back or boasting about anything I’ve done with the paper. Not my style. Modesty is always the best policy.

Instead, I want this paper to serve a purpose to you – the student body at UNCW. If you’re reading this, there’s as much of a chance that you are a dedicated reader of The Seahawk as there is a chance that you had no idea this school even had a student newspaper. That’s nobody’s fault. Some people know about us, some people don’t.

But if there’s one thing that I want to leave behind as I move on from The Seahawk, it’s to implore everyone involved with UNCW to cheer for the school’s sports teams. Fans of UNC, Duke, NC State, ECU, and a handful of other schools seem to multiply on campus by the week. And there is nothing wrong with that.

However, there is something wrong with not showing support for our school’s sports teams. And by our school, I mean the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Sure, we don’t have a football team (please stop with this argument, it’s the deadest of horses). Yes, our basketball team is not consistently ranked in the Top 25. But damn, if that’s what we’re going to judge our sports allegiance on, then there are really only a small number of schools any of us should pull for.

Just take a moment to appreciate some of our school’s accomplishments. Our track and field team? You know, the one that’s at risk of getting cut from the school? The men’s team has won 11 CAA titles, including one last year. The men’s swimming team? Yeah, before this year, they captured 13 CAA championships… in a row. Consecutively. Back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to….. You get the point.

The men’s and women’s tennis teams both won the conference titles last season. The baseball team is currently ranked No. 22 as of this writing. And our men’s basketball team that everybody has seemed to loathe in recent years? They experienced one of the biggest program turnarounds in the country under first-year head coach Kevin Keatts and won a share of the regular-season conference title. They’re on the up and up.

What I’m saying to you is it is 100% fine if you are a fan of any of the triangle schools or any other university or college. I, myself, am a UNC fan. Sorry for any of you that will stop reading after that statement. Both my parents went there. It’s something that’s been drilled into my head since I was a kid.

But what I’m saying to you more importantly, and I mean this in the most respectful manner possible, is that you do not attend any of those schools. You attend the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Support the Seahawks first, then those other schools.

I guarantee you that, if you took a poll of any student-athlete, they will tell you that they enjoy competing with bleachers full of raucous fans cheering for them more than they enjoy playing with a few fair-weather attendees that came to the event for the free T-shirt.

And I’m willing to bet my life savings (which is not a lot, but it’s all I have) that the more they enjoy playing, the better they will perform. It all starts with you.

We don’t jump ship when our favorite pro teams go through a down year. Or even one of those other schools you love. Why would we do that for UNCW? It’s up to us to make sure the student-athletes know we care, and, if you give it time, it’ll all pan out positively for everyone.

Alright, that’s enough with the preaching. I’ve done my part. As I said before, my three years as Sports Editor of this student newspaper have been awesome. I would not trade my experiences through it for anything.

I just want all of us, all of the UNCW family, to make it a priority to make our Seahawks number one.

Thanks for the opportunity to write for y’all (grammar doesn’t count on your last paper). Whether you’ve liked my stories, disliked my stories, or simply didn’t read my stories, it has been a pleasure.

I wish you all the best of luck in whatever you may choose to do. If you want to reach me about this story or any other I’ve written or edited, you can find me on social media or the UNCW directory. Otherwise, please take heed to what I just preached about.

Seahawk pride. Spread it.