For those that attended the Saturday portion of the “Border Wars” basketball tournament in Syracuse, you were able to witness school pride at its finest first hand. The Syracuse student section put on a clinic in school pride that was something right out of the movie “Hoosiers”. The group of students was amazingly loud from tip off and didn’t lower the volume until the final second had left the game clock. The students vocal support echoed after every made shot, every rebound grabbed and after every hustle play the Syracuse boys had in general. While the Bulldogs were playing defense it was almost hard to hear the whistle from a referee because of the chants of “Defense” and “Take that ball away”.
One doesn’t have to travel to Syracuse to see a frenzied fan base similar to this either. A similar scene plays out at most games just 20 miles to the north in Kit Carson. Kit Carson students are extremely proud of their boys and girls basketball programs. Win or lose, the student are on hand to cheer on their fellow Wildcats and perhaps make the night a little more difficult for their opponent.
Growing up at Plainview, I was always jealous of the Eads sports programs. While the Plainview programs always had tremendous support from the local community, the biggest thing we lacked was student support. This missing support was unfortunately nothing that could be controlled as it was just a product of our low student numbers.
So what is causing the decline in our school spirit and who is to blame? The short answer to that would be attendance and distractions are causing the decline and we are all to blame.
I understand that some of our games take place a considerable distance from Eads and most of us are working to support families. However, recent attendance to games in Eads is proof that we have a school pride issue. November 30, 2018 the Eads basketball programs hosted their first high school games of the 2018-2019 season. Attendance was not great during the girls game. The crowds size would probably be considered average. However, I would estimate that over 50% of the crowd left as soon as the girls were finished, leaving the boys to play in front of a crowd of mostly visitors. This isn’t just a basketball issue either. There are plenty of volleyball, football and baseball games that have almost non-existent crowds. If we as adults take pride in our school and our teams, we will set the standard for school pride for future generations in Eads.
The biggest obstacle that I see preventing school pride is that thing in most of our hands and our kids hands at any given moment. That’s right, I’m talking about those cell phones. I’ve seen way too many games over the past couple of years where the majority of our kids are too busy staring at their phones to realize their fellow students are giving their all on the football field, basketball court or baseball diamond. The kids are not the only guilty parties. Coaches, school faculty and parents (myself included) are all just as guilty of making our phones the priority. Kids and adults alike, refuse to let themselves be inconvenienced with cheering on their team. After all, if we put our phones away for an hour or two we might miss those incredibly important texts, posts, Snapchat messages or tweets.
I’m a believer that the energy from the crowd has a major impact on players in any sport. In order to obtain that energy we have to have attendance and attention. I challenge everyone reading this, to be a part of this energy and bring back the pride in Eads that I used to be jealous of many years ago.