Home field advantage

Student groups work to increase fan attendance at both home and away games.

Home games draw out large crowds, especially during football season. There is often a huge contrast between the amount of people and space available when attending away and home games. This contrast is due to the fact that most fans do not want to drive further out to neighboring schools.

Raeshin Kilsby, staff writer

Football is often considered the most popular sport in America, drawing in fans who watch games ranging from professional teams to youth leagues. Unlike professional games, where the stadiums are packed with fans from across the country, it’s a whole different world in high school games. There is often a distinct difference in the size of crowds at home games in comparison to away games.

“[During] away games, [we] feel like we’re there to attack and conquer. [We are there to] leave our mark. [At] home, it feels like we have to defend our territory,” sophomore and JV football player James Felix III said. “People who go to away games [really put in effort] to see their team win or lose.”

Many believe that there is also a difference in the attitude of those who go to away games as opposed to only home games, since they put more time and effort into supporting the team. It shows the commitment that these students have to their school and team.

“I like home games better because I feel a sense of pride encouraging my team and [I] like hearing how loud the home crowd is,” junior Brendan Hsu said. “I’d say they’ve become more enjoyable because I’ve gotten a lot closer with friends since I started going.”

Attending the games brings a sense of closeness between friends and strangers alike. Large crowds present a face of unity, where all of those attending have a common feeling of pride for their school.

Those who regularly attend away games often encourage more classmates to come as a way to express school spirit by going that further distance to support the team. Besides the team itself, other students make the trip for away games like the cheerleading squad and the marching band. In past seasons, there has been a visible difference in game attendance, but this year, people are trying to make a change and encourage more fans to come out to both home and away games.

“Our first away game was at Hayfield, which was 45 minutes away, so the attendance was probably a fifth of what we got at our first home game, maybe even less,” senior and varsity football player Christian Parana said. “Definitely the attendance of the away games is a lot smaller, but I’d say the crowd is as energetic, because it’s usually the seniors or the people who are more devoted that attend.”

There are certain elements that might dissuade people from going the extra mile to attend an away game, such as the longer travel time; however, the student-run spirit group, the Purple Platoon, does its best to accommodate for the lengthy travel time.

“We have a system in place for away games; we tell people who don’t have rides to come to the baseball field in front of the school and we just give them rides,” senior Colin Nguyen, one of the leaders of the Purple Platoon, said. “I’ve talked to a lot of underclassmen during the games and some of my friends would come up to the freshmen and talk to them, hype them up, get to know them and ask them if they’re having a good time.”

Getting underclassmen excited for the games at an early stage in their high school career can provide a more meaningful high school experience for all involved, from the athletes to the fans.

Along with having the school’s cheerleading squad to support it, the football team has its own pep band, the Mighty Marching Chargers. The marching band attends most if not all of the varsity football games.                                                                                            

“I enjoy going to away games,” Hsu said. “I enjoy watching the game and having fun with my friends. They’ve become more enjoyable because I’ve gotten a lot closer with friends since I started going.”

Even those who don’t enjoy the game itself can still find themselves having a good time at both away and home games by having fun with friends or just being there to support the school. By coming together for common purpose, the Purple Platoon and fans all over the school and community bring a sense of unity to a time-honored high school tradition.