Bring the Fans Back to the Stands
By Sam Lynam
Back in 2007, Novato High School was one of the most dominant football teams in California and had no problem beating the opposing teams by 40 or more points. They also had no problem generating interest among fans, filling stands with Hornet’s supporters. With two older brothers on the team, I got to see the action first-hand, attending almost all the games. One thing that always stuck with me was the amount of support the players had, whether it be from parents of the players, students coming to watch their fellow friends and classmates play, or just locals coming to see an amazing football team play.
When I was set to start my career at Novato High, I figured it would be a similar experience. But, I was surprised to find that it would be nothing like it was only 9 or 10 years ago. At home games, Novato is lucky to fill half of the stands, when they used to be packed so full they didn’t have enough seating for everyone.
One of the first issues that comes to mind when people think of when it comes to the games not filling up like they used to is the performance of the current players at Novato. Nowadays in many sports, Novato has seen too many losing seasons and the fans of those sports realize that as well. Many students and local fans are no longer excited to go see their team lose yet another game. As a player, it frustrating to see the teams keep losing, and as a fan it can be seen a similar state of mind. Why should people keep coming to these games if the same thing keeps happening over and over again?
Senior Ty Walling discussed what inspires him to attend Hornet’s games.
“What makes the games so exciting for me is the chance to see my close friends play and succeed, and I find with basketball, especially this year, it is a lot of fun to go see players I know and getting rowdy in the stands is also fun for all of us,” Walling said.
The most popular sports that I have seen in the past have been football, basketball, lacrosse (especially girls as of late), and maybe baseball as the final sport. However, for the four years, I have yet to see a game even close to full, except for games against San Marin (who wouldn’t come to watch a school rival?). But for all other games, stands are pretty much empty with very little support from fans.
There are some other legitimate reasons for poor attendance. With all that happens in a high schooler’s life, it can be hard to make time to come to a nearly two and a half hour sporting event. Whether it be mass school work, working during game times, or other events that may come up, it is hard to carve out time to make it to some games.
Novato High Junior and big sports fan Jack Curtis explained why he attends almost all basketball games.
“It’s because you guys are very good and I also get to watch a lot of my friends play on the team. I also like going to the games because of the atmosphere the crowd provides, when everybody is at them it can be really intense,” Curtis said.
During the times when the stands were packed, it seemed as if the students coming to the games just focused on school and had much more free time to come and watch their fellow classmates. With the current student body, many are actively employed, or possibly in AP classes or MSA productions, which could force them to focus much of their free time on extra work for that specific responsibility. It seems that now is a much more stressful time to be a high school student, which doesn’t make it any better for athletics.
Another issue is the lack of public exposure for each sport. Almost every sport either has an Instagram page or a Twitter page that lets their followers know about updates regarding the team and game times. But for some of the pages, they don’t give accurate, updated information or they are not being run properly. Also, there are still some sports without a page of their own to advertise games or other events. The school itself does little to try and let the public know of sporting events. There are weekly emails and sometimes they have certain events listed on their website, but nothing to make sure people see. Because of this, games are left out of the public’s knowledge which can cause a low turnout.
Many of the people that go to games and enjoy games have a variety of opinions about how the atmosphere at games could improve. But one issue that stood out is the freedom and opportunity for students to show their appreciation in more ways.
Walling described how the games could improve for the fans.
“I think it would be more exciting with more people in the stands because then it would be a better atmosphere and also I think that there could be less restrictions on the fans, like noise makers or similar to that because a lot of the things we do can be interesting and exciting for the players,” Walling stated.
Over the years Novato High has seen a drop off in student athletic talent as seen by records and overall success. This has led to less interest, attendance, and support for many sports programs. With this, it makes it hard for players to get excited and when important things happen in games, it is hard for anyone to feel any emotion when no one else is there to encourage the teams. It is hard to see this changing drastically any time soon, but hopefully with some new success this can become an issue of the past and games can start to become more exciting for fans to see again.