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November 16, 2021
Since attention is crucial to make all athletes feel supported, promoting a high level of student engagement for every sport can foster a more positive environment around athletics at West High. Huegel uses all the resources he has to promote and support sporting events and share news about the programs at West.
“I really try to make sure that I’m supportive with my presence, with financial support for the programs. I’m pretty active on social media on Twitter; I try to promote every single activity,” Huegel said.
Butler recognizes Huegel’s efforts.
“I think [Mr. Huegel] does a pretty good job of always trying to tweet out stuff about recognizing the kids that are having success and the team, so no complaints from me,” Butler said.
Despite Huegel’s efforts to regularly promote all athletics, some athletes still believe more publicity would help bring support to their sport.
“I know there are some social media accounts. I think posting more on those [would help bring more attention to sports],” Taeger said. “A lot of high school students check their social media.”
Outside of social media, some students think that visual reminders and advertisements around school could help bring attention to more sports.
“I don’t see any schedules anywhere in the lunchroom on the TV, saying like ‘big bowling meet today.’ I just don’t think it gets put out there enough,” DeSaulniers said.
Huegel recognizes that some students who want to actively support athletics are not always able to because of ticket fees or other financial limitations. He believes this should not limit student support, though.
“I can do some things to get discounted tickets. We can do other sorts of things if finances are the barrier,” Huegel said.
While publicizing events may spread the word about all sports, Noeller believes creating an environment for spectators would bring more students.
“Our track coach, Mr. Craig got a good idea [from] Eastern Iowa Track Festival. He brought in a couple food trucks to the meet so that people could buy food, and he had music playing,” Noeller said. “We just got to make the environment for home meets more exciting, more fun. I think that will help get people out to come watch,” Noeller said, recalling one track meet that garnered lots of support.
After all, the exciting environment is what gets many people to congregate at football and basketball games.
Support for teams can also come from other programs to foster a sense of athletics throughout the school. Butler has ideas for how sports teams could help support each other on a regular basis.
“I made a suggestion that we make a schedule of [teams coming to support each other] and have it fixed,” Butler said. “In terms of the microcosm that is athletics, we could do more to support each other.”
Noeller has firsthand experience with West groups supporting each other in sporting events and sees the value in incorporating this collaboration. One of our goals we strive for is that all groups feel they are valued. That’s really important to me.” — Craig Huegel
One of our goals we strive for is that all groups feel they are valued. That’s really important to me.”
— Craig Huegel
“I think we just got to get other parts involved,” Noeller said. “A couple years ago, we had a meet at the Ashton course. We brought the pep band over, and we had them playing at the finish, and I think that was pretty cool.”
Overall, Huegel does all he can to make every team at West feel appreciated, but there must be initiative from students and collaborating groups.
“One of our goals we strive for is that all groups feel they are valued. That’s really important to me,” Huegel said. “If there are suggestions that students have about ways we can be even more equitable in promoting our sports, I’m always open to that idea.”