After a hard fought comeback victory Saturday night, the Lancers football team took off their cardinal and gold helmets and raised them towards the grey PCC Student Parking Lot No. 4. Normally after a victory like this, the Lancers would be embraced by their loyal supporters with respect and admiration in the bleachers.
But these pandemic Lancers have no other choice than to celebrate where you park your car. The same place where you find oil leaks, random debris, tire skid marks, and empty white lines.
Little by little fans started to trickle into the parking lot. One visitor sat in his cardinal and gold lawn chair atop the bed of his truck. A Citrus supporter went to Jack In The Box at halftime and grabbed a chicken sandwich because she wanted to feel like she was at a real game. Some chatted with friends about football and the weekend. Some just came to watch their kids play football. Even two sheriffs in full uniform stopped by to watch them from the ledge on the third level. And who could blame them?
PCC was supposed to live stream home games via SportsNet USA because they are not allowing sports fans on campus at this time, but the streaming site was down. In fact, it never went up and the school never sent an apology nor an explanation. The same thing happened Wednesday when the women’s volleyball team played Long Beach.
The question some of these supporters were asking themselves is why can’t they watch the game from the stands? And I tend to agree with them. Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas stated that the decision to not allow fans at the stadium is being discussed on a regular basis and could change.
“We are reviewing our public participation policies on a regular basis, and this very topic will be discussed in the next couple of days,” said Endrijojas. “The decision on athletics competitions without spectators was made in conjunction with both the Athletic Director and the Dean of Athletics, so it was not made in a vacuum and it was very much with their concurrence. As events have continued to evolve, we are revisiting this and other decisions.”
“Much of the issue revolves around enforcing the vaccine mandate on our campus, and when spectators are allowed at athletic competitions that we host, those are official college events, so we have to address how to enforce our vaccine mandates.”
As much as I appreciate the honesty and the response, I also know that Santa Monica College is allowing fans in the stands. How come they are able to handle the rigors of the coronavirus? Why can’t our fans sit in pods? Why can’t we demand proof of vaccination? Why can’t we space people out and allow them to watch their kids one last time? For some of them, this will be their lasting moment and impression on PCC. This is what these young men and women are going to remember.
No fights erupted amongst opposing fans. No cinder blocks were hurt. No trash was left. It was just a group of people watching good ‘ol fashioned American football. Even the PCC Police car who didn’t disrupt the fans from watching the game was telling. So, if you’re reading Dr. Endrijonas, Dr. Miller, or Mr. Barbone, remember your promise to those student-athletes and their families.
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