Low attendance at winter sports goes against Athens Drive spirit

Dana Shefet, Editor-in-Chief

During the school year, fall sports are extremely important to students. Football, volleyball and soccer games have a high attendance rate and school spirit is off the charts. School spirit allows the students to unite even if they are not on the actual team, coming together and supporting the Jags. Going to sporting events and supporting the school is common for most students; however, after the end of football season, school spirit and attendance at sporting events drastically drops, leaving a negative impact on the school. Nonetheless, it is unfair for the winter sports teams to receive the backlash of the school’s “football aftermath” just because they are less interested in the sport. School spirit and support should be prominent at all sporting events, not just during football season. School spirit should not stop after fall sports end.

After mid November, when football season is officially over, school spirit lacks around the school. From little student attendance at basketball games, swim meets and wrestling matches, students have become less energetic in supporting their school. While attending the basketball games, wrestling matches and swim meets, the student section should be just as deep as the football section. The crowd should be rowdy and the chants should be endless. This is what the players expect from the students at basketball games, but that is not what happens. After the fall season ends, student attendance goes down, which is frustrating to the players and the students who bring their “A” game to every event. The lack of school enthusiasm continues the rest of the year to spring sports, and  the level of excitement at the spring pep rally cannot even begin to compare to that felt at the fall pep rally.

What students seem to forget is that their attendance and support for school sports play a huge role in making the team confident and leading them to victory. When the football team is able to feed off the crowd’s chants, it motivates the team to win for their fans. In a recent study done by psychologist Sophie Freeman, she noticed that the ‘crowd effect’ increases their chances of winning by twenty two percent when the “crowd effect,” cheering fans supporting them, are at attendance during their games. Although we already have strong winter sports teams, imagine how much better they would be had they had the support of Athens Drive students at their meets, matches and games all these years.

Many winter sports including basketball, swimming and wrestling are usually overlooked by students, which makes Athens and our school body look weak to the others that are in attendance. There are things that could be done that could increase attendance such as better advertisement of the event, but the athletic department can only do so much. It is all up to the students and their ability to persuade people to attend. The school spirit organization at Athens, the Blue Crew, can create fun themes, do halftime contests and do giveaway prizes as they do during football season, but how can they try to improve school spirit when the organizers do not even attend the games and meets themselves?

The winter sports teams represent Athens Drive just as much as the football team does. They proudly wear Athens Drive on their uniforms and show off their blue and orange. Athens students should show these teams respect through attendance at their functions because of all the hard work they put into their seasons. School spirit should always be at a high level, not just during football games and it is up to the students to support their peers and let other schools know that Athens Drive is a school one cannot compete with in any aspects of school spirit.