Andrea’ Ezell is a junior on the volleyball team this fall. She is the president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), which helps give student-athletes a greater voice in the athletic department. Andrea will blog each month to let fans and the public know about what’s going on around the athletic department from the student-athlete’s viewpoint and from her team.
A big change I wanted to implement this year as SAAC president was to encourage teams to support one another more. That was one of the biggest problems I had noticed my first two years at GSU; teams did not really know one another and they did not go to one another’s events in support. They did, however, complain when they did not have a lot of fans at their own games. This was what I wanted to bring to a stop. In order for student-athletes to expect the general student body to come and support us, I think it is important that we first support one another.
In order to accomplish this goal I had to first get the coaches on board. I thought this was going to be the hardest part, but every coach welcomed the idea with enthusiasm. Next were the student-athletes themselves. This is where I faced my biggest problem. Understandably, student-athletes felt like their time was already dominated by their sports and now I took away the only free time they may have had on the weekends. After about a week of resistance, I think the message finally got through to them.
I was shocked the first time I ran out to warm up for one of my own games and saw the women’s basketball team, men’s golf, men’s basketball, soccer, football, baseball, and members of the track and field teams all there to cheer us on. This specific game was against Clemson, which had only lost to GSU volleyball a couple times in the past; and for the first time in three decades we beat them. I honestly do not think we could have pulled off such an amazing win if it wasn’t for the support we felt that night from our fellow student-athletes.
I hope this is a tradition that can be kept, and in the future, that we have student-athlete alumni at the games as well!
Go Panthers!–Andrea’ Ezell