The roar of the crowd? More like crickets

Students lack enthusiasm over school sporting events


Bjorn Benjamin

Students attend the Varsity Boys Senior Night basketball game on Feb. 10.

The bleachers rumble with excitement from the football fans, students, parents, faculty and community members all combined. Students keep their eyes on the team for brief moments throughout the game, but their time gets taken away by taking pictures for their socials and getting food, and after the major events in the game have occurred, they leave.

According to a survey of VHHS students, the most popular sporting events to attend are football and basketball games. Junior Aidan Marcikic believes that the reason these two sports attract the largest crowd is that they are “essential to the high school experience.”

Marcikic said that he only attends the games if his homework load allows, and he isn’t the only student with a tough schedule. According to the Illinois Report Card, 37.7% of freshmen, 60.8% of sophomores, 65% of juniors and 70.2% of seniors take one AP course or more.

“I like that a lot of [athletes] try to go to other sports and support their friends,” Brian McDonald, athletic director, said. “But, obviously, kids around here have a lot of options on what they want to go do and see and they also get a lot of homework as we get a lot of high-achievers around here.”

It is hard to determine the root cause for the lack of attendance at sporting events, but according to Mr. McDonald, he also believes that the sports teams’ success is a major factor in students’ decisions to attend the games. Senior Aidan Lindley said most students attend football and basketball games due to the team’s seasonal performance.

The school’s most successful team is bowling as they took 2nd in the state competition; however, junior Nick Belmont, who is a bowler, said that the only people who attend are parents and occasionally friends of the players.

I attended a basketball game in January, where the Cougars played against Niles North, with the girls’ game followed by the boys. 270 tickets were bought for the girls’ and boys’ games, according to records kept Radhika Joshi who shares the position of ticket manager.

While there were some spectators for the girls, the stands seemed pretty much empty. The crowd was dull and did not show too much enthusiasm when the team scored. Many people were in and out of the game, too; they either were getting food or socializing with friends.

The boys’ game had a larger crowd, with almost two times more spectators than the girls’ game. The game kept the crowd on their feet as both teams were fighting for the win. However, despite this, the stands were not fully packed.

Allie Defranco (12) a student at LHS expressed her experiences at her school’s sporting events, as she attends most of the football, soccer and basketball games.

“We normally always have a huge crowd at our games, it makes a huge difference when the student section is packed compared to when it is not,” Defranco said. “When we have a huge crowd the players get really excited and play better.”

Football is our school’s most popular sport for students to watch. But as stated by Lindley, students don’t stay the whole time.

In the survey, students said they would be more motivated to attend games if there were fewer restrictions on what the student section is allowed to do. Others said they’d attend if they had less homework, if the teams handed out free sports merch, or if there was more advertising for when and where the events are happening.

Lindley said students would be more motivated to go to games if there were events and raffles for those who stayed. Senior Caleb Smith said that he would be inclined to attend more games if there was some type of incentive to go to these games.

Freshman Morgan Udvance talked about some important issues to combat low sports attendance.

“Having [the game schedule] sent out through emails would spread the word and inform more people,” Udvance said.

“Students without transportation are already less likely to be at an event; a fan bus would be a great way to get people from the school to an away event, and back,” she added.

Senior Keshav Sivaram explained why he would have liked to see more people at his soccer games.

“The games might have meant more to me if you’re trying to show up in front of people you know,” Sivaram said. “If people actually came and watched me, I would have found the season more exciting.”