Athletes need our support

Mohamed Bafakih, Sports Editor

Besides being home to over 17,000 students, Bakersfield College is also represented by over 300 total student-athletes. Despite those numbers, we can’t even draw a decent-sized crowd to come watch our athletes – who sacrifice many obstacles through strenuous periods of times long before the start of the season – finally showcase their abilities that go unnoticed by colleagues.

As a new season of sports get under way during the spring, I would like to take a step back and reflect on the poor fan support of students and the community leading up to this point.

We all know that fan support contributes to a team’s success, especially here on your grounds. Bakersfield College is the center to some of the finest sports facilities at the community college level in the state. And of course with the popularity and amount of local products that represent Kern County, it’s evident as to why our football program ranked in first place for home attendance this past season in the state with an average of 2,721 fans per game (according to, where Memorial Stadium was filled for most of the games and helped BC rally back and win their last three games at home (including the Western State Bowl victory over Chaffey). Let’s not forget, though – Memorial Stadium seats roughly 20,000 – and despite being first in the state, this is a program that once rang in approximately 12,000 rowdy Renegades per game heading into the 1990s.

Outside of the general favorite, other sports such as wrestling, volleyball, women’s soccer, and even cross country in the fall have produced some quality athletes whose performances went unrecognized.

Wrestling finished eighth in the state as a team and qualified five guys into the State Championship (including first-place winner and All-American Jack Murphy), but when it came time for BC to host tournaments, only one side of the bleachers should have been pulled out. These are athletes who pushed their bodies to extreme measures by cutting weight and staying as healthy as possible, but didn’t receive the support they ultimately deserved.

Volleyball and women’s soccer were sports that lacked plenty of fans as well. Gentlemen in particular, what else could you guys possibly have planned besides supporting your school and these athletes that work hard day in and day out? Both sports, along with many others, reflect the community as most of them have been nurtured within the region and recruited to stay and play for BC.

As a former student-athlete, it gives you chills to see all your friends, family and fans out in the bleachers during warm-ups to rally around you. It unites all the individuals on the team and allows the fans to be apart of the game.

I understand this isn’t high school anymore. Mommy and daddy won’t be at all your games, but come on – I truly think some spirit around the Hill will turn it from Harvard to Arizona State. Heck, if a Curtain of Distraction needs to be unveiled, I’m all in to be a part of it – especially after both the men’s and women’s teams dropped consecutive must-win games at home on Jan. 17 and Jan. 21 to sub-.500 teams.

I’m not expecting a Division I caliber student-section or sell-out crowds at our sporting events, I believe a little more enthusiasm for our student-athletes can go a very long way and contribute to their performances and outcome.

Men and women’s basketball have only four remaining games at home that can possibly be determining factors to keep their playoff hopes alive. Despite the limited amount of Kern County flavor on the men’s end, we have the third-leading rebounder and 14th-leading scorer in the state in Deandre Dickson as well as Queens’ (NY) own Jameik Riviere – perhaps one of the most flashy and underrated guards in the state. On the women’s side, this is quite arguably the biggest success story of the year in Renegade Athletics.

With spring rolling in, what better way to spend your time than catching your hardworking colleagues put in work like you do in the classroom – which is only half of their job, if not a third of their job.