Photo Source: Post Bulletin
Photo Source: Post Bulletin

Empty Stands

Importance of school spirit in sports becomes apparent now that it is gone.

January 8, 2021

Friday night lights, an iconic staple in the American dream of highschool sports. Heading out to the football game after a long day of school to cheer for your school, hold posters, chant and have an opportunity to be with friends. On the other side of the coin, the players on the field look up to see the whole school showing out in support of them. All of that went away with the spread of the coronavirus. Now, no crowds, no people, no ambiance, no more pep rallies, no more spirit days and no more shows of support for athletics at school. Stadiums are empty and the players are just playing with no one to cheer them on, changing the dynamic completely of the hype and personality behind high school athletics.

 “Sports and school spirit go hand in hand. School spirit can bring purpose and direction to any sports team,” senior varsity football player Max Wharton, said. “Crowds and school spirit are vital to an athlete’s performance on game day. Student athletes who know that their friends and classmates are cheering in the stands really bring the best out of the athletes.”

Under new coronavirus precautions, Suncoast no longer allows general admission to any games and players are only allowed two spectators for games with tickets only being able to be purchased through the GoFan app. School spirit allows students to become more involved in school so the lack of school spirit and sports can also be negative to those only looking to spectate.

“School spirit makes school more fun. It makes everything worse when you go to a school where there is no spirit. It’s a lot more boring, but when you have teachers and students that actually enjoy being there then it is all so much better,”  senior volleyball player Abbie Hynes said.

When playing sports for one’s school, it is unavoidable to realize that it is truly for that school but it can feel meaningless to play without any recognition or support from those who you are winning the titles for. Athletes now do not have the visual and emotional connection that school spirit solidifies.

“Athletes hold importance to school spirit in the way that we are playing and winning titles just for our school,” Hynes said. “We have coaches telling us that we are representative of the school and we should be respectful when representing the Suncoast. That part of us as athletes is the school and we are always reminded of that.”

Charger pride has almost become nonexistent and now the special connection between classmates and the school as a whole has started to deteriorate. School spirit is near and dear to many students’ hearts and the lack of it has put the importance of school spirit into a whole new perspective.

    “School spirit is an essential part for students to have a better connection to their classmates. It allows students to have an outlet for the pride and joy they get from attending their school,” Wharton said. “For some, it offers an escape from the stress and anxiety that comes from school and is a way to just have fun in a way that puts positivity into our learning environment.”

         After this pandemic, there is a newfound appreciation for things that were once taken for granted. The hype for homecoming games, seeing friends in the stands and having pep-rallies and spirit weeks dedicated to sports has diminished greatly in a world where any person can seem like a serious health threat. Players have had to readjust and so have students; But in the end, it goes to show how important school spirit really is.

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