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!