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School Spirit: Transforming from “Meow” to ROAR

by Ashley Benavidez

“Hey, are you guys going to the soccer game?”

“We don’t know. Who’s all going?”

“We don’t know.”

It’s often the same routine when it comes to school sporting events:  the small talk about who is and isn’t going and the indecisiveness. Once the small talk is over, turns out, no one shows up because they were too worried about who else was going to be there. Maybe, if people would just go, no questions asked, we’d end up with a decent-sized crowd at sporting events.

All too often we find ourselves at a sporting event where there are more athletes than fans and the only cheerleaders are the crickets.  Here, at Finlandia, where the total number of students is approximately 650, our size can either make us or break us: We’re small enough that we can get everyone involved without much difficulty, yet if even a handful of our students don’t participate, we notice they’re missing.  Once that handful decides not to show, another handful stays away and possibly another. Then, whatever is left of the crowd sees no point in committing if there are only a small number of them doing so. It just goes to show how easily influenced young people can be. But if we can influence each other positively, then it’s a win-win for everyone.

Aside from the issue of attendance itself, it’s useless if everyone goes just to sit and look pretty. It’s a more exciting experience if you allow yourself to get into the game and the competition.  The athletic programs here at Finlandia are involved in a Pride Challenge, which is, basically, a competition to see which sports program has the most members attend other sporting event. The purpose of the challenge is to get our athletes to support each other, but it doesn’t do any good to just sign in and sit in the bleachers with your face glued to your cell phone. It does far more good when you find yourself cheering and starting a wave, and the great thing about spirit is that it’s contagious. So, once you get going, I can almost guarantee that others will follow.

A loud and spirited crowd has the potential to alter the result of a game. When I asked Seth Mcgowen, member of the Finlandia Soccer team, how school spirit and a cheering crowd affects his and his team’s performance, he said, “It increases the morale of the player. When we see there’s a big crowd there cheering us on, we feel like we have to do better so that we don’t let them down. If they’re shouting my name and cheering for me personally, it makes me step up my performance and do something great.”

Now, I can’t speak for everyone, but if influencing a win is as easy as showing up to the game and cheering for our team, I’d keep doing it. If we don’t, it just starts a circular chain.  Our team doesn’t do well because the fans don’t go and cheer for them, but the fans don’t go and cheer for them because our team doesn’t do well. However, if the fans can step up, even once, and go cheer our teams on, it can completely reverse that cycle. Then, we’d be able to say “Our team does well because our fans went and cheered them on, and the fans went and cheered them on because our team does well!”

When you’ve got extreme school spirit and pride, the adrenaline rush you get from being among mass amounts of your peers, overwhelming the other school’s team and fans, produces a feeling beyond words. FInlandia is a small enough school that we can bond together and get everyone involved.  Thus, we unite the school, raise the spirit, and make a seven-month school year more fun for everyone. Paint your face, grab your friends, throw on your Finlandia t-shirt, and lose your voice while you cheer our teams to victory!

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3 Responses to School Spirit: Transforming from “Meow” to ROAR

  1. Mikko Reply

    October 29, 2010 at 11:40 am

    That was intresting to read. I agree that it is much more nicer to play when there is many people cheering my team and me. But sometimes when we lost 1-13 a soccer game I just hoped that nobody wouldnt see that game.Audience of a outside sports is pretty much related to weather. If the weather is cold and it is raining nobody doesnt want to go watch a soccer game. On the Other hand at the beginning of our soccer season we had a home game where was lots of audience because it was warm and sun was shining outside.
    Soccer is now done, and indoors sports starts; for me it means that basketball started. I think more people come to watch our basketball games. Because we are playing in the Paavo so nobody can tell that they didnt come because it was raining. Paavo is located in campus and next to doorms so it’s easier to come especially for those student who live in the doorms.
    I really hope people come to cheer our basketball team, because I know it raise spirit and performance in our team.
    Summary of all this, is that go and watch and cheer up our teams. It means a lot to players when they see audience there. To be honest here in Hancock is nothing else to do than school and sports, and nobody doesn’t want to read all the time. So going to sport events is a great way to meet friends and get mind of from school books.

  2. Kelsi Reply

    November 2, 2010 at 11:33 am

    As somebody who rarely goes to sports games, this gives me a different opinion to maybe in the future go and support the same kids I am friends with in class out on the field. It’s also an awesome way to meet new people and get out of the dorms for a bit.

  3. Brittney Coleman Reply

    October 13, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    As an athlete myself, I cant even explain how good it feels to have a crowd to play in front of. Ashley I know your also a student athlete and I’m sure you can agree with me. I wish we had more fans that support everyone. Performing in front of people and playing for the logo thats on our shirts means a lot for an athlete. Transportation is defiantly not an excuse to not make a lions game! We live on such a small campus and everyone has cars, and if not, theres always small town busses that offer rides! and we have feet people! lets stop being lazy and go out to the games to support the Finlandia athletics. Ashley I loved this article, I was able to relate a lot to the information said, because I do feel the same way.

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