Oh, I am very weary,
Though tears no longer flow;
My eyes are tired of weeping,
My heart is sick of woe.
The 19th century English poet Anne Brontë wrote those four lines to open up her poem "Appeal."
The first half of the Virginia Tech football game at Boston College may go down in my time as a Boston College student as the worst half of football I will ever witness. When taking all but the last play of the half into consideration, the Eagles offense combined for a grand total of 42 yards of offense on all of 14 registered plays. During those five drives, the Eagles punted the ball four times and fumbled once. That fumble was returned for a touchdown. The Eagles would have had another drive in there, but Taj-Amir Torres made a massive mental mistake when he found himself close to the ball on a Virginia Tech punt. He touched it, and Tech had the ball at the five yard line. The Eagles' final drive was a decent one, but in the end, like so many times before, the kicking quite literally fell short.
In summation, the Eagles had an atrocious half. And, by halftime, BC fans had enough.
It is easy to pick on the Boston College fanbase as being fickle, or fair-weather, or uninterested. And I frequently share in the frustrations of those who are angered by fans, especially students, leaving early from games.
However, at some point fans, bloggers, administrators, anyone associated with the team need to ask one question of attendance: at what point is enough enough?
This isn't a mass exodus of fans leaving a semi-competitive game against Pitt last September for reasons escaping my comprehension. These aren't fans leaving the Colorado State game early, leaving massive pockets of empty seats when the Rams came back to beat the Eagles.
These are fans who have been subjected to atrocious BC football, a team that chronically has had trouble doing anything at all on offense this year. It is also the special teams unit that has made mistakes consistently.
Essentially, the team has become unwatchable. If the team is unwatchable, who is anyone to criticize someone for not wanting to watch it?
The fans who did not attend Saturday's game against Virginia Tech are not bad fans. They are fans who acknowledged, after weeks of awful BC football, that their Saturdays are better off without a day at the Heights, and their money better spent elsewhere. As for the fans who left early, they are not bad fans either. They are fans who watched a mindbogglingly atrocious performance by the Eagles and had enough. There is nothing wrong with deciding not to punish yourself by watching more of the same, terrible product.
For the alumni and non-alumni fans, it was a beautiful fall day in New England, and there are many different ways to spend beautiful fall days in New England than going to a BC football game. As for the students, it was Halloween. There are parties to go to. And honestly, those parties are probably more fun than watching the Eagles run the ball up the middle for no gain again, and again, and again, and again.
As for attendance issues being a uniquely BC issue, well…
What many of these examples of stadiums filled with empty seats show is a direct correlation between average or mediocre play and attendance. Fans are not stupid. They are not going to spend time and invest money in a team that loses.
It is not the responsibility of the fan to make the team better through their investment. The only responsibility of the fan is to enjoy gameday, no matter if it is in the stadium or not.
The onus of investment in the program is not on the fans. If Shea Field is not desirable, there is absolutely no reason why fans should go to it or buy passes for it. The same goes for the game.
Quite simply, if you are a fan who saw this tweet on Saturday:
You know - gotta hand it to the BC students for sticking around and supporting their team for the second half. pic.twitter.com/7t2GAhcLFo— BC Interruption (@bcinterruption) October 31, 2015
and your reaction was to become nostalgic for the days of 2008, all I can say is that the team was worlds better than this team, and the support reflected that. The eyes of BC fans everywhere are tired of weeping, and hearts sick of sorrow, and honestly who can blame them?
As for anyone in the program, or in athletics who saw that tweet and agreed with the sentiment, and are frustrated or even blaming the students or fans for leaving early, if you want unwavering fan support, improve the product, from on the field to off it.