Give me libero or give me death

There was a free event on campus two weekends ago that attracted 1,358 people in two days, and I’ll bet my next paycheck virtually nobody reading this column heard or even knew about it.

And it’s too bad, because our volleyball team deserves better. Oh sure, the girls who go out there and play won’t say it. They love the fans that come out, and instead of just saying, “We love the fans that come out,” the players prove it by tossing T-shirts into the stands before the start of every home game.

Let me say right now that I’m still a volleyball virgin. I’ve only been to two matches in my life, and I know next to nothing about the strategy and complexities of the sport.

However, as a lifelong rabid anything-Boston sports fan, I know a good thing when I see one. And in an age of student-athletes suing professional leagues for early entry, cheating on the field and off and treating the law like a quaint set of suggested social behaviors, it’s great to see athletes playing simply because they love their sport and their supporters. And if my gushing isn’t getting the job done, consider this:

-In 2001, the team advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament.

-At the end of every match, players and coaches linger on the court, shaking hands, kibitzing with fans, posing for pictures and hugging family members.

Aside from all that, volleyball is just damn exciting to watch. It’s a lightning-fast game, and the 30 points it takes to win just one game (it takes three games to win a match) usually expire faster than an open carton of milk on the sidewalk in July. The fans who do pack Crimson Court in the HPER Building already know what I’m talking about, but it’s the other 27,000 of you I’m interested in.

Two weekends ago, our volleyball team defeated the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and San Diego State University on their home floor. This past weekend on the road, it defeated the University of Wyoming and lost Colorado State to advance its record to 13-7 overall with a 7-2 record within the Mountain West. I was going to start talking about how the U’s program is on the rise and how they’re recruiting some of the best talent from across the country. But since I’m just a pure fan of the sport and the team and not yet knowledgeable enough to do that, I won’t.

All I’ll say is that as much fun as it is to watch the football team and the men’s and women’s basketball teams compete, it’s just as fun watching the less-popular sports. Sure, I’m a sports purist. I’d go see a lacrosse game between Helen Keller University and the Philadelphia School of Grain and Textiles if I knew it was going to be competitive. If the girls pour their hearts out on the floor, the least we can do is put our butts in the seats. And it’s free. The next match is this Friday-Halloween. Come dressed up as a Ute fan and cheer our girls on for a couple of hours.

[email protected]