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Dear JBU Students . . .

Dear Students at John Brown University,

I have had the privilege of being a student athlete on the women’s volleyball team at John Brown University for three years now. I have been involved in athletics my entire life and playing at the collegiate level has been such an awesome experience. However, this past season, during my junior year, I tore my ACL. This meant experiencing the sport in a new way: as a spectator.

I am proud to say that JBU does an awesome job supporting our athletes when the game counts. For instance, this school is known for the Toilet Paper Game. We fill the stands with students and people from the community because we do a great job advertising the game a month prior. This ensures that people plan accordingly so they can attend. This needs to be the culture created for every sporting event. What I cherish and love about JBU is that we value community. However, I am writing this letter to address the lack of consistency we have in our school spirit at JBU. Throughout my three years as a JBU athlete, I have recognized the absence of student support when people stopped coming after our first home game.

I have participated in being both a fan and an athlete in sports competitions. Therefore, I am writing this letter to fans and athletes alike in the JBU community. How can we, as students, come together and change the culture of attending sports games regularly? I want to build a culture where attending every sporting event is the norm. We need fans to fuel athletes and remind us why we love the sport we play.

Why are fans a necessity? Fans spark a feeling of adrenaline and strength as I step onto the volleyball court facing a hundred people screaming my name. Why stop this energy when we can grow it? The hype fans bring cannot just happen for one game. Instead, it needs to continue throughout the school year. School spirit is grown from the relationships you make with one another.

There are many ways to build community, but, as an athlete, I see that school spirit is a great opportunity to bring people together. A simple solution in stopping the inconsistency of attendance is getting the word out and inviting students to games. Athletes need to start going up to people individually and letting them know, “we want you there!” After all, what is better than a personal invitation to an event? Students at JBU, as an athlete myself, I want you at my sports games, but it is your job to show up. You motivate us to play harder by cheering us on. Your connection with athletes changes the JBU community.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this letter. This school has been my home away from home. I hope this begins an opportunity to grow our family and make our school spirit even stronger. I invite you, students at JBU, to not just read this letter but to make a change and support the athletes who love seeing you in the stands. You make a difference!


Carly McKinney

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not claim to reflect the opinions or views of the Defendant or its staff members.

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