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Making the case (again) why successful Olympic sports are important

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It just takes one....one championship....to change perceptions and to change attitudes. And what sport will be the one to start the process?

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Last week we wrote about the Directors Cup and the fact that - for the second year - Rutgers was last in the Big Ten.  There was a pretty good conversation on it, including the fact that the Directors' Cup focuses on NCAA finishes and rankings, something that doesn't necessarily show growth, progress, or more earthly success.

The fact was, which I added when asked, that Rutgers was better this year than in 2014-15.  And while still last in the Big Ten, the gap between Rutgers' 14th place finish and 13th had narrowed.

Here's the comment, though, that really caught my eye...even made me pause.

I think I'm with you jumperstatus

....I doubt that all but the most ( 1%?) die-hard college sports fans have any inkling about such rankings. If RU were great in FB, MBB and WBB I'd be content....I've NEVER had anyone bust me around the water cooler about their alma mater beating mine in Tennis, Field Hockey, Volleyball, Cross Country, Golf, Rowing, Swimming, etc. I applaud the efforts of the student-athletes in all sports, and hope that they're given an opportunity to be competitive, but if RU stunk in the latter groups and excelled in the former, I feel that the overall perception of RU athletics would still be pretty darned good. To wit, I have a good perception of UConn athletics owing to M&W hoops, but beyond their mediocre football team, I have NO idea how they fare in anything else....

That's my humble opinion, no matter how wrong some of my fellow Knights fans may feel that I am. But the part about nobody busting me at the water cooler is FACT.

by ScarletItBleed on Jun 3, 2016

It's hard to argue that you won't get too much - if any - harassment from others about sports outside of football and basketball.  I can agree that no one ever gave me a rash of bacon, let alone a rash of s*** over any sport other than football or hoops.  And, maybe making ScarletBleed's case, I'll let you know that UConn has seven national championships in sports other than basketball:  Men's Soccer (1948, 1981, 2000 ), Field Hockey (1981, 1985, 2013, 2014).

But if popularity is the only measure of a sport's worth, why do we have any?  Well, I've made that case before, too.  The fact is, as ScarletBleed writes, you "hope that they're given an opportunity to be competitive".  But, of course, at Rutgers they really haven't.  That probably will be changing with better facilities, full scholarship opportunities, and competent leadership in the Athletic Department.

But I think what makes my case for why it's important to be more than just "competitive" in other sports came in comments not under the Directors' Cup post, but from one of the football preview posts.  Want to know why we can't just keep muddling along?  Because I want to put an end to - to put to death - that certain term.....Buttgers.

How many times have you read - or said yourself - "winning cures everything".  Yeah, a lot.  And it was mostly said in regards to football and basketball.   And as New Jersey's own Vince Lombardi said, "Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all the time thing. You don't win once in a while; you don't do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing."

Just as Chris Ash wants to change the culture, the habits if you will, so we need to in everything we do.  Otherwise, you end up with this:

It's Buttgers

Buttgers sucks and shouldn't be in the BIG. #SCRUBSFOREVER

by bubbafranks60 on Jun 4, 2016

And until we win a Big Ten title, until we compete regularly for titles in a bunch of sports, we'll be - at least in some cretins' minds - Buttgers.

We all know that bubbafranks60 is a troll.  He joined On the Banks in January and has made nine comments, all of them the highly intelligent type as above.  But he and others don't care where we've been or what we're trying to do.  All he knows is that Rutgers has a shaky and questionable athletic history, one without significant success.  And the fact is, the first Big Ten title is not going to come in football or basketball.  It's going to be in an Olympic sport, whether soccer, lacrosse, or something else.

I know that no one here is rooting against the Olympic sports; it's just that too many have the attitude that success is, well, sort of optional as long as football and basketball are doing well.  But as Lombardi said, winning and losing are habits; get used to it and it also becomes contagious.  John Madden once said, "...winning's the great deodorant, and conversely, when you have a bad record, everything stinks, and everything starts to unravel, and everything falls apart."  Everything becomes Buttgers.

Only one way to make it go away.

Just win, baby.

I've always said winning's the great deodorant, and conversely, when you have a bad record, everything stinks, and everything starts to unravel, and everything falls apart.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/winning.html