By Adam Hurwitz and Ruslan Crosby
Despite the level of play, having a large fan section at a sports game has incredible impacts. With this in mind, Newton South athletics suffers from a lack of both support and spirit for its teams.
“It seems that sports spirit at south [extends to] boys’ basketball, football, and ice hockey. [Newton South should] expand from the main three, because if you show your support at one sports event, that team will come support you, and there is nothing like a crowd cheering you on and making you love what you do,” senior girls’ soccer captain Sydney Greene said.
Greene was surprised by the lack of spirit for all sports teams when she came to high school and joined the soccer team, expecting bigger crowds at more games.
”I assumed that there would always be crowds and signs and stuff, but my first couple of years we were lucky if all the parents showed up to support us,” she said.
After finally earning the chance to play under the lights and in the playoffs this season, Greene finally got to experience the power of a big fan section.
“It was the epitome of high school,” she said. “[The crowds] motivated us, and when our energy would die, the crowd would bring it back up. We definitely played for ourselves, the school, and the crowd.”
Sophomore Audrey Lavey of the girls’ soccer team also believes a student section can play a role in night games.
“It made you want to get to the ball before the defender, or win the ball back and make the right play,” she said in an earlier interview with Denebola in October.
Boys’ ice hockey captain, Cole Bovarnick, shares the same positive experiences of crowds at hockey games, but is lucky enough to have supportive crowds at a majority of his games, not only a select few.
“I think that not only the athletic spirit, but the spirit in general at South, is awesome,” Bovarnick said.
Senior football and basketball captain Sasha Hoban believes that spirit around a sports team is related to the success of the team.
“[I think South spirit is] pretty fair weather,” he said. “There is a core group of people in every grade that are very spirited and attend a lot of games but massive crowds only really show up when a good south sports team is playing in a high profile game.”
Hoban agrees with Greene that playing under the lights at South is a phenomenal experience.
“Playing under the lights is the best way to play football in my opinion,” he said. “It just kind of sets a mood and creates intensity in everyone. It is a really great experience that is unlike anything else.”
Football, ski team, and baseball captain Dylan Meehan wants lights to be installed permanently at Newton South, to add spirit and bring fans to more games, at least for a few sports.
“Playing under the lights in front of all your friends is one of the best feelings in the world. I truly think getting lights on the fields would change the culture of south for the better. It drove me to play the best I could and leave everything out there.”
However, outside of the ‘big ticket’ sports such as football, basketball, and hockey, there are many sports in which students seldom show up.
The girls’ soccer team, despite being ranked number six in the state at one point in the season and having a record of 15-2-3, had very few fans outside of parents and a couple extremely dedicated teachers at many of their games.
“Usually our only fan section is the player’s parents,” junior girls’ soccer player Maddy Yorke said before her night game last fall.
Calling for more spirit at South in years to come, Meehan left a message for younger students.
“Few people are proud to go to Newton South. That being said, running out onto the field in front of the crowd I could not have been prouder to have the word South across my chest,” he said. “For the underclassmen, the class of 2017’s time has come and gone but throughout your time in high school, go to the big football game and check out a play. You’ll remember going to that event for the rest of your life, and that assignment you skipped to go to that event will be forgotten the next week. You only get to go to high school once so make the most of it.”