3 Reasons You Should Cheer For The Mocs (Or Whatever Small to Medium Sized, Non-SEC School Where You Are A Student)

This post is from 2015. Certain facts and specific references may no longer be applicable. Such as the first three sentences below. But the sentiment remains the same, and I think it is worth reposting from time to time just to remind people – Go Mocs! 
It’s homecoming week here at UTC. The Mocs are ranked 4th nationally and are coming off of an exciting win at Wofford. Things are going well for the Chattanooga Mocs, and there is a lot to be excited about as a UTC student. And yet, for some reason it still seems like a majority of the campus doesn’t really care. Why?
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Well, the Mocs compete in the Football Championship Subdivision and they are a part of the Southern Conference League. More importantly, they are not in the Bowl Championship Series and they are not in the SEC. So, the question becomes, why should you care? And I think that is the question a lot of Chattanooga students are asking. On any given game day in Chattanooga you will see an upsetting amount of orange and a disappointing amount of blue and gold. It seems that the level of spirit has very little to do with the success level of our sports teams. Apparently, people need a little persuasion to get behind the Mocs. So here you have it. 4 reasons you should root for your college team.
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*This post frequently refers to the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Mocs. However, the principle is the same for whatever school you are at. This is not to persuade everyone to become a Mocs fan, it is to persuade everyone to root for their own school. If you go to UT-Martin, be a Skyhawk. Austin Peay State University? Let’s go Peay! Heck, University of Tennessee? Go Vols. 
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1) It is the college experience that you probably complain about not having. I hear a lot of people saying things like, “UTC is great, I just wish our sports teams were better,” or “I just wish UTC was a big sports school,” or, my personal favorite, “I just wish our games were more hype.” To the first statement: it just really doesn’t make sense. Our football team is extremely competitive this year, as are many of our other sports teams. It is very likely that your lack of school spirit has little to do with the skill level of your teams.
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The last two statements are almost unforgivable. Here’s the thing about hype sports games: the only thing that makes them hype is when people decide that they are going to be hype. I’m not exactly sure how people think it should work, but in my four years of college, here is something I have learned: A student section is only successful when it is actually full of students. We can’t sit around and wait for the school to create an awesome student section. We just have to BE an awesome student section! Don’t wait around for games to become more exciting, go to them and make them exciting! As Mahatma Ghandi famously said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” In the same respect, be the student section that you wish to see.
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Even Jimmy Fallon knows.
Even Jimmy Fallon knows.
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2. It matters just as much as SEC football. I know I will probably get some pushback. Yes, I am aware that SEC/BCS football games are the ones that get all of the TV coverage. So in that sense, it may seem like football matters more for big schools. Here’s the thing: In the big scheme of things, no football game really matters. It is nothing more than an hour of grown men running around a field, and we are just a bunch of crazy people cheering them on. Football games are just arbitrary, pointless events that bring people together. Before you quit reading, hear me out.
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I’m not saying it is pointless to care about football. What I am saying, is that all of the things we love about sports really have very little to do with who is playing. Here is why I love football (and any other sport really):
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  • The passion and excitement of competition.  
  • Wholeheartedly getting behind your team and rooting for them until the very end.
  • The crazy cheers and the endless high fives when your team scores.
  • Trash talking the opponent and being blindly faithful to your own team.
  • Saying “There’s always next year” and being relentlessly optimistic.
  • Sharing the joy of victory and the disappointment of defeat with your closest friends.
  • Giving everything you have to something that is absolutely out of your control, and learning to accept the results of someone else’s actions.

None of these things have anything to do with the size of the stadium, the national importance of the game, or the ranking of the teams on the field. Sports are incredibly pointless. Watching sports is a frivolous leisure activity, and there is no need for it. And yet it is also a vital part of our culture, and I am thankful that sports do play such a big role in our world. The point is, every game is pointless and arbitrary. And in that way, every game is equally valuable. With this in mind, it seems logical to get behind your local team, where you can experience these things firsthand at every home game, as well as throughout the week on campus!

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#GoMocs
#GoMocs
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3. It builds character. This won’t be easy. Sometimes, rooting for a small school can feel like an uphill battle. It frequently involves being a part of a small group of people, passionately advocating for something that most people really don’t care about. It requires you to go against the flow, and to stand for something through thick and thin. It requires loyalty and faithfulness. It takes rugged determination and youthful enthusiasm. It takes commitment.
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When I look at all of these characteristics, I see the making of a genuine, valuable human being. These are all traits that I admire in people, and they are traits that are honed through something as simple as cheering for the home team. I want to be the kind of man who is willing to stand up for my beliefs, who is loyal and faithful, and not afraid to fight the status quo. I don’t believe that rooting for the Mocs will automatically make me into that kind of person. It is, however, a chance to live out these values in a small, tangible way.
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As a student at a small school, you have an outstanding chance to take part in, and to help create, a community that is like no other. I’m asking, no, I’m begging you, to not let that opportunity slip by. So many people miss out on a once in a life time thing while they sit at home watching some other team play a game that matters just as much (or as little) as your own school’s game. This brings me to one last point. A bonus point, just for the skeptics.
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Extra Point: I hear a lot of people say that they would root for the Mocs, but they are already Vols fans, or Alabama fans, or Gator fans, or whatever. Maybe you have been rooting for the same SEC team all your life, and you always will. That is fine. Here’s the thing. I’m not asking you to become a Moc for Life. All I want, is a Moc for Four Years. MFFY. For four years of your life, these precious years full of youthfulness and reckless enthusiasm, I am asking that you give your all for the school you are a part of. You can go back to your precious Vols after you graduate (although I’m not so sure you will want to after you experience all there is to being a Moc). But whether you like it or not, if you are a University of Tennessee-Chattanooga student, you are a Moc, so you might as well act like one.