Sleepy, nonexistent, lame, disheartening: athletes from field hockey and volleyball use these words to describe their student sections. As an athlete on the varsity volleyball team, I can count on one hand how many students show up to our games. The same goes for field hockey. Of the fall sports, field hockey and volleyball are the two of the three spectator sports that students may attend and cheer athletes on from the stands. It is heart-aching to see no fans in the stands or on the field.
Football games are an important and inclusive event for the whole school; football games have an all school attendance, while volleyball and field hockey struggle to get at least 5-10 students at a game.
Part of the problem is advertisement. We know when the football games take place because the entire Upper School is invited to participate in dress-up days; the student planners also announce the football games whether they are away or at home—but not volleyball or field hockey.
Mrs. Karen Horne, administrator in the Upper School Office, helps make the Upper School planner said,“football is not just a sports event, it is a social event including family and friends. Football is surrounded by bigger events such as homecoming, pep rallies, alumni nights, and other special events.”
She mentioned that the football games are a Friday night lights scene because we live in Texas. Friday night games are a tradition in Texas.
Volleyball and field hockey games should become just as important as football games. The games should invite friends and family to come out and support their teams just as they do with football.
Throughout this season, the one time I saw volleyball and field hockey have an actual student section was our “Dig Pink” games. Field Hockey, the yell leaders, and accompanying students went out to support with pink shirts, ribbons, and bells.
Following the field hockey game, the students then attended our volleyball game in the Melcher Game. We were thrilled, blood rushing through our veins, our adrenaline pumping, our hearts beating rapidly, and we felt ready to play and represent our school and our student section.
One set into the game, we looked back at our student section and all but a couple of students had left. It had been one set, at most 20-25 minutes, and we no longer had a student section. Students could have stayed to encourage us and support their fellow classmates; however, they left quickly and we quickly lost our fans. No one was left except for our parents.
The Yell Leaders are some to blame for this nonexistent student section; they have not shown up to a single volleyball game nor field hockey game other than our “Dig Pink” game. The Yell Leaders should be setting and exemplifying school spirit, getting each team excited and ready to play; however, they fail with their inaction. The job of the Yell Leaders is to set the spirit within the student section and get everyone excited and cheering on the team. Walking out to an empty student section is a huge let-down and can easily become a factor into how each team plays. No team wants to walk out all hyped up and thrilled to see only parents and maybe one or two teachers whispering among themselves like they are at a golf game or the opera.
Where are the Yell Leaders? Where is our motivation and excitement from the crowd? Yell Leaders attending and whipping the crowd into a frenzy would be a great starting point.
So students, next time you decide to not attend a field hockey or volleyball game, think about your peers and how they would feel to look back and see a huge sea of fans yelling and cheering, and lastly, how you would feel if put in one of our positions, looking into the bleachers to see no fans.