Spencer Levi has done the impossible; he’s gotten UD students to support athletics.
Last week, Levi was one of five freshmen that Hero Sports allowed fans to vote for as best freshman in Division III basketball. While Levi didn’t win, he finished second – garnering 1,249 votes, 27.31 percent of the total.
Levi galvanized our student body to rally behind him. It wasn’t surprising to me to see his teammates, coaches and friends posting on their social media accounts, calling for people to vote for Spencer. But it was surprising to see a number of UD students who likely have never been to a basketball game at UD supporting him.
Levi said that he’s felt the support across campus.
“I have people just in the halls saying, ‘Oh I voted for you,’ and I’m like ‘Oh thank you’ and I don’t know who they are,” he said.
He said that he gained 25 new Twitter followers and 20 new Instagram followers during the voting in one day.
“It’s about trying to put a successful product out there, and Spencer’s had a successful season, so it makes (people) want to rally behind a guy like that that’s been successful,” Head Coach Jarred Samples said.
One of the students who was supportive of Levi was senior Mary Hinze. Hinze said she hasn’t been to a basketball game this year, but when she saw someone post a link on their Facebook page to vote for Spencer she saw an opportunity.
“We give so much attention to academic awards, and I just thought it’d be cool for the seniors to see it and be aware of it,” Hinze said. She went as far as to post a link to vote for Levi in the UD senior class Facebook page to try and garner more support for the freshman.
“There isn’t enough of a preference at basketball games,” Hinze said. “We don’t get behind [varsity sports at UD], and I thought that was something that we haven’t taken advantage of, so I thought let’s be a part of this community let’s show him some UD love.”
Hinze compared UD student-athletes to her own experience with drama. She has a passion for drama and is grateful that she can pursue that passion while a student. She believes it’s important student-athletes have the same opportunity.
For guys like Levi, it’s important that UD students rally behind their achievement. We strive for intellectual and spiritual excellence, but to be a fully developed person we must also pursue physical excellence.
Levi encompasses what UD students should strive to be. Despite his accolades on the court, his teammates and coaches praise his strength as a teammate off the court.
“I think he’s just a good kid, and you like for good kids to be recognized,” Samples said. “He’s a great representative for our program so it’s exciting to see other people at our school get behind Spencer or voting for Spencer.”
There’s been a slow growth in athletics’ popularity at UD, but the growth is there — particularly when the teams are successful. Athletes work hard at their craft while still keeping up with the UD curriculum, much like the drama department, the swing team, etc. They deserve our support.