Northwestern released some news Thursday: the school broke its single-season season-ticket record for football, breaking a mark set in 1997 after back-to-back Big Ten championships in 1995 and 1996.
Yo, I ain't LTP, helping move the ticker. I tend to write about football, and not the environment surrounding football, even though the latter has a legitimate effect on the former, both from our perspective and from the perspective of the talented high schoolers who have to decide where to play in college.
It's not clear how many ticket-holders that is -- NU Highlights guessed over 24,000 -- but that doesn't matter. We ain't fillin this silly 47,000 person stadium yet, but between wins and marketing getting randos interested, things are turning up. There was a damn line for Northwestern single game tickets, and they weren't randos! They were NU fans!
Oh, I wouldn't do an entire post based on this one thing. Tom Fornelli, who, by the way, does three times better of a job blogging about Illinois than I could ever do blogging about Northwestern, had two posts yesterday. He was trolling, which he's pretty awesome at, and he didn't tell a single lie in either of his two posts. He pointed out that its silly that Northwestern calls itself Chicago's Big Ten Team, but finished eighth out of 12 in teams at a 10K in Chicago. And that a study says Northwestern has the worst fans in the Big Ten.
I know he was joking, as I am when I talk about THE BITTER RIVALRY BETWEEN NORTHWESTERN AND ILLINOIS, but I feel there's a point to be made. Northwestern has the LEAST fans in the Big Ten, but we sure as hell don't have the worst.
And things are changing.
We're just Northwestern, and we're very proud of that. We'll always be just Northwestern. But that doesn't mean we have to lose games, and that doesn't mean we have to play in front of an empty stadium.
We've all hoped for years that our nerdy, tiny school with a small stadium too big for our even smaller fanbase could somebody act like a legitimate sports team, both on the field and off. And over the past few yeras -- with wins, a big basketball coaching change, and marekting -- it's actually happening. I'm not sure whether to be more bewildered that everything seems to be clicking, or, well, thrilled. But I swear, it's clicking.
And hey, maybe one day we can be 11th. Or, well, at least 13th out of 14.