Playing hard without fans in the stand

Elle Forsythe, Reporter

 The rush of the crowds in the stands, the swarms of players, the electric energy that follows everyone through the game. We all love showing up to support our school and our peers, but what will happen if we can’t cheer for our favorite teams in the stands this season? How will we show our support without being there in person? Will the athletes be affected?

Our student athletes felt the effects in quite a different way than others, though, whether it be getting to practice at 6 or 7 a.m. and standing in assigned spots on the sidewalk until the team is able to get their temperature checked, wearing a mask coming on and off the field, or even the simplest things like not being able to high-five a teammate after a drill. 

All of these are challenges that they have met and overcome, still working towards a successful season, but the one they haven’t had the chance to confront yet is the possibility that their friends and family won’t be allowed to support them in person.

“The fans are hugely impactful,” varsity football coach Bob Wager said. “I’ve had an opportunity to watch our community and our student body get really excited about football and all of our sports across the board. The two are tied together, a very tightly knit relationship.”

It’s easy for the fans to feel the energy they’re giving in a game, but what’s harder to see is how the players take matters into their own hands when it comes to hyping up their teammates. 

“I personally couldn’t care less,” football player junior Ernest Cooper said “I’m kind of in my zone just me with my brothers on the field. It doesn’t really affect me if the fans are there or not. I could play with a full stadium or an empty one.”

This sentiment is shared by many of the football players here at Martin. They have their own way of encouraging their teammates and themselves during games. 

“Personally, the fans give me the energy, regardless of whether it’s a good play or a bad play or otherwise their noise and their energy reflects onto us,” varsity football player senior Placid Djungu-Sungu said. “Due to the cut of distractions that we have, the focus we have and attention to detail that we’re giving to each thing that we do, I feel like within myself I’m more prepared because I’m more focused and more centralized on my responsibilities and everything that I have to do.”

While other sports may not be allowed the same occupancy as football, simply because of the size of their stands, they are confident that while it will be quite a big change from last season, they will be mentally and physically prepared to start the season.

“We always focus on being noble minded,” varsity girls basketball coach Brooke Brittain said. “Life is good, even when it’s hard and you hit obstacles. We are Warriors so we choose to be positive despite adversity and hardships. We choose Joy. We choose to lift each other up and be energy givers. It’s who we are and that’s how we prepare every day, every year. Covid doesn’t get to change that.”