December 4, 2020

Jecha Jabber: “Midnight Sadness”

We all long for a sense of community. We all want to feel like we belong somewhere or to something.

For me, I’ve always connected with sports. I was never the most athletic kid, so I had to find some other way to connect to them. I was a fan first, like many others, but that wasn’t quite enough. That’s what led to my interest in sports journalism and broadcasting.

Jecha Jabber is a biweekly column written by Galaxy Radio General Manager Ryan Jecha.

So being someone who loves sports, I was really disappointed to be sitting in class one day and hear that one of the biggest athletic events of the year — Midnight Madness — is being canceled this year.

For those who may not be familiar with it, Midnight Madness is a staple around collegiate athletics. It’s a celebration that kicks off the college basketball season. Athletes and students all gather together in the gym for a late-night party to commemorate this event.

Those who are really into sports, such as the student athletes on campus and sports journalists like myself, love this event. It’s about as much school spirit tied to athletics as we see throughout the entire school year.

The reason I was given for Midnight Madness being canceled this year is due to the low turnout last year. The low turnout last year is not surprising given a few factors.

Midnight Madness has never been a widespread success at Webster. Let’s face it — this is a liberal arts university, and no one will deny that interest in sports is lower here than at most colleges or universities. Athletic events as a whole frankly do not draw a large crowd here.

It also didn’t help that last year’s Midnight Madness was held on the Friday night that kicked off fall break. Many students left town to be with their families. Others were out celebrating the beginning of a week-long break in their own way. This was simply not a good day at all to plan this event. It was practically set up for failure in terms of drawing an audience.

When I was at the Homecoming/Reunion Weekend, I kept having one prevailing thought. It just amazed me that we have to cancel this Midnight Madness that a dedicated and passionate group of students really care about, but we can afford to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony (those kits aren’t cheap) to open a moderately attended carnival?

Maybe I’m being selfish, but it just makes me very sad that frivolous things like giant scissors are purchased while a group of students have to miss one of their most anticipated events of the year. Not only that, but the athletes who work very hard and perform in front of a sparse crowd on most nights do not get to showcase their abilities and enjoy a celebration in their honor.

I would love to see a big event put together and promoted strongly for athletics this year to account for the loss of Midnight Madness. Maybe have a big event surrounding a later basketball game, or an event similar to Midnight Madness to kick off the spring sports season. Webster has built a strong athletics program, and it deserves its due recognition, as do the fans.

Webster is one of the most passionate college campuses I’ve ever seen. While we may not all share the same passions, I’ve found that students value those around them who are just passionate about anything.

That’s why it’s a shame that a small but passionate group of students do not get to have one of their biggest celebrations of the year.

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