November 16, 2021
Whether due to a lack of understanding, need for transportation or desire for social atmosphere surrounding competitions, the amount of attention and support a sport receives may affect the success of the sport itself.
“The enthusiasm of the crowd can sometimes carry your team over the top,” Mayer said. “Without the crowd, the game’s outcome may have been different.”
In addition to influencing game outcomes, a crowd brings a desirable atmosphere to athletes and coaches. Mayer states that heavily attended games are the most memorable ones.
“All players and coaches would love to be in games that are heavily attended,” Mayer said. “Those are the games that people remember. Packed stands create an amazing environment that is great to play and coach in.”
Huegel has a similar opinion on the effects of home crowds, giving the example of the volleyball team.
“Our student section has had a huge impact on our volleyball team,” Huegel said. “We play so much better when we’re at home. Our coaches and athletes … love the energy that our student section brings.”
As a cross country runner, Caden Noeller ’22 doesn’t compete under packed bleachers and bright lights. However, he doesn’t think that makes a large difference. It doesn’t always feel like the school is backing our team” — Olivia Taeger
It doesn’t always feel like the school is backing our team”
— Olivia Taeger
“I don’t think [lack of attention] has too much of an effect because you are really focused on just competing in the moment,” Noeller said. “But I think it would probably help give a little motivation to see classmates cheering you on or wanting to see you compete and win.”
When reflecting on last season, DeSaulniers believes COVID-19 restrictions on audience attendance affected performance.
“There were no fans, so it definitely impacted those games. Having [a crowd] this year definitely pumps you up a little more,” DeSaulniers said. “It’s definitely good knowing that you have people supporting you.”
Noeller appreciates support from those that do show up but believes student presence would make a difference.
“Honestly, the parents do a pretty good job of cheering, but I think it would definitely be beneficial to have to have classmates watch too,” Noeller said.
Athletes like Taeger see student support as more than beneficial; it makes a team feel valued.
“When you look at the stands at a swim meet, it’s just parents and grandparents, and it doesn’t always feel like the school is backing our team,” Taeger said. “It can really affect you and make you feel like your team isn’t important to the school even though it is.”