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Students address inadequate fan sections

Caroline Judd

Caroline Judd

During the home football game against Ladue, the student section, which includes parents, is sparse.

Susie Seidel, Parkway West High School

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Flashback to the 1990s: the back wall of the gymnasium is lined with additional bleachers to accommodate a student section that is constantly growing. However, this year, the student section at football games was relatively small, which caused frustration for fans and athletes.

Recently, a photo went around the social media app VSCO picturing senior Jr. Lopez holding a sign at a football game reading, “If you are not going to cheer, leave,” hoping that less enthusiastic students would be inspired to show their spirit.

“Some of the upperclassmen aren’t [in attendance] and it’s really frustrating because I feel it really does impact the athletes’ gameplay, and it just makes the atmosphere as a whole a lot better,” Lopez said. “We want big student sections, but they need to be rowdy or it doesn’t make a difference. A bigger and louder section increases the athletes’ ability to do better during their games, because they have their peers watching them and want to play for us and themselves.”

Junior and varsity poms dancer Sophia Ferretti also noticed a decline in the number of students showing up, and said that there were about half as many attendees as there were her freshman year.

“It sucks being on poms and having to turn around and do sideline dances when the band plays, and you turn around and there are no people there,” Ferretti said. “Toward the end of the game, everybody leaves early. Nobody used to leave early, everyone always stayed to the very end and cheered on the football team until the end, win or lose.”

Senior and varsity running back Eddie Ross believes his peers’ enthusiastic support at games would yield a positive outcome for the team.

“If you have a really loud and exciting student section, it just motivates you to play better and makes the game go by. I just wish a lot more people would come, because a lot of people ended up leaving before the game ended,” Ross said. “It wasn’t motivating.”

Varsity football head coach Jeff Duncan said that it can help improve player performance when there is a greater amount of students supporting the athletes.

“It can help reinforce that their hard work and time spent preparing for something is appreciated regardless of the outcome of the event,” Duncan said.

However, there is plenty of hope that things will go in a positive direction from sports fanatics.

Sophomore Catherine Widowski found that this year, there is an increased number of students attending the hockey games.

“I think seeing the people you don’t normally see at school going out to support our teams creates a really good environment,” Widowski said. “I think after football [season], more people are realizing that games are a fun part of high school and they shouldn’t miss out.”

Ultimately, athletes, faculty and fans agree that large student sections create a community of involvement throughout the school.

“I think the energy level our student body brings to contests makes the environment more exciting and provides a climate that is fun for everyone,” Activities Director Brian Kessler said.

As games approach, hesitant students are encouraged by fans to think twice before passing on the opportunity.

“When the world around us can appear negative at times and when people tend to go their own way, sports are something that can bring people together,” Duncan said.

Read the original story here

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