It’s the final point of the match and she sinks into her stance, ready for the serve. Her teammate sets the ball beautifully; she jumps and spikes it down onto the opposing team’s side of the court. Her teammates rush towards her and she looks in the stands to see mostly empty bleachers. Her great sense of pride fades a bit.
Bethel High School has 24 sports teams and unfortunately most of them are underappreciated. Almost all of these talented athletes are practicing five or six days a week for hours and when they have a chance to showcase their hard work, they do not have many fans in the stands.
In fact, most sports events at BHS receive little attention from the student body, the majority of supporters are athletes’ parents. According to Mr. Tatto, BHS Athletic Director, “There might be a couple [students] but not nearly what my idea would be for having fan support.”
Every team needs fan support; it keeps the energy high and helps raise the morale of the players. It excites athletes to hear people cheering their names and recognizing their accomplishments. Thomas Carraturo ‘16, Bethel Cross-Country runner, describes, “When I’m kind of at the end and I see everybody cheering for me it gives me the determination and motivation to keep going instead of stopping.”
In addition Mr. Tatto explains, “From a peer athletic point of view, you could make the argument that if there’s more fans and there’s more cheering, there will be more energy both on and off the field and in the stands.”
The amount of fans also enhances the performance of the athletes. Katherine DeFazio ‘16, BHS volleyball player, says, “I feel like I have to do better in front of fans, it puts pressure on me when people come to watch and I usually play better under pressure.”
In some cases, the lack of fans can dishearten the athletes. Jasmin Goncalo ‘16, BHS volleyball player, describes, “The amount of fans kind of makes me sad because other sports, like football, have crowds and crowds of people watching, when we can barely fill in the bleachers for our home games.”
Katherine DeFazio ‘16 adds, “during varsity I’m kind of sad because no one really comes so I don’t have that motivation of ‘ok everyone’s watching so I need to do well.’”
In my opinion, there is an abundance of sports teams at Bethel High School that need to be recognized more. For instance, the cross country team never has fans! This recognition improves and enhances the performance of the athletes, as well as raises their self-esteem. In the words of Mr. Tatto, “Everyone is doing their best, both teams are trying their hardest to win, and people are demonstrating their athleticism.” These aspects, which are a result of much hard work, deserve to be acknowledged.
Every athlete works hard, hustles, and puts their best effort into playing at their highest potential. This should be celebrated by our school instead of brushed off. I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Tatto’s sentiment, “I get to see it to a much greater extent because I’m going to almost all the games and it’s given me a new appreciation for some of the more underrepresented sports that don’t get the turn out.”
In the words of Thomas Carraturo ‘16, “We NEED more fans!” So take an hour or two out of your afternoon to attend a game or meet and support your fellow Wildcats, they’ll love it.