Generals athletics bleeds blue

Catherine McCurdy, Staff Writer

The 24 recently implemented a new initiative known as “Bleed Blue” during competitive athletics’ home games.

“There is something really nice about playing a hard game and seeing a huge crowd of supporters cheering you on from the sideline,” field hockey player Paige Mammorella, ’24, said.

The 24 is a student-athlete representative group on campus that is made up of at least two members from every sports team on campus. It delegates both the internal and external regulations and policies from both the school at a student level, all the way to the NCAA.

The 24 saw across the board that student athletes wanted more fans in the stands. A lot of games don’t see enough supporters in the stadiums, especially since a lot of games are during the week. 

 “We want to try and encourage athletes to invite their friends and go and support each other,” The 24 President Freddie Tobeason, ’23, said. “We know at W&L a lot of us have so much work to do, which is why we thought about having one home game where we can up the crowd.”

W&L has always had sparse student attendance to games. The hope is that the Bleed Blue initiative as a whole will give the teams the support their looking for from their fellow student-athletes and get more of the student body to the games. 

Each team gets to report when its most important home game is, and that becomes the Bleed Blue game. If there is any conflict with another team, they ask that they delegate and try and find a different game for each team so there is no overlap. So far that hasn’t happened.

“We are really excited about Bleed Blue Project. It’s our first year doing it, but apparently we had done it before in the past,” Tobeason said. 

Bethany Dannelly, associate director of athletics and The 24’s faculty advisor, gave the group the idea to resurrect Bleed Blue.

Dannelly, ’05, was a four-year starter on the women’s basketball team and a three-year letterwinner in track and field during her time at W&L. 

“When I played here, we never really had that many crowds,” she said. “Always the same people came, and it was still just other athletes and friends. We had weekday games with 10 people in the stands which still happens, but we have such good teams and we should come out and support them.”

The Bleed Blue games of the fall season have been a great success, said Dannelly. Large crowds of fans have gone to each game, and it has really fired up the teams.

The first Bleed Blue game was the volleyball match against Randolph-Macon College on October 12. The match was over two hours, and many of the crowd members stayed until the end.

“Having people there builds so much spirit and provides a competitive edge for the players,” Dannelly said.  

The 24 also wants to try and get T-shirts made for the Bleed Blue initiative and find ways to encourage more student participation at games.

“We want to try and add fun things at the games like raffles for gift cards, half-court shots and more,” Tobeason said.

Upcoming Bleed Blue games are field hockey against Shenandoah College, October 26 at 7 p.m., and football against Randolph Macon, October 29 at 1 p.m.