My freshman year, Pioneer men’s hockey was playing a quarterfinal game against Livonia Stevenson and it was the first game I had played when there were actually more than five students there. As if the adrenaline pumping through my veins wasn’t enough to get me amped up, I had three Stevenson players coming at me, late in the second period, trying to score with not a lot of help coming back. Out of desperation, I dove at the puck and batted it away with my stick. The feeling immediately following that moment was a feeling that not a lot of people get to experience. The Pioneer student section blew up and sent a roar all throughout the arena. Its one thing to make a play like that and have all the parents golf clap, but to have fans, some of them not even knowing my name, screaming and yelling for a play that I made…that, in my opinion, is one of the greatest feelings an athlete can experience.
This is the kind of situation that all athletes aspire to experience in their athletic careers and I don’t think students and other fans always understand that. The fans at athletic events have a huge effect on the game. Whether it’s a professional game, collegiate game, or a high school game, if the fans are loud enough, it will often change how the game plays out. In major sports, where some stadiums are filled with up to tens of thousands of people, the fans can make enough noise to cause confusion on the field. This makes it incredibly difficult for teams to communicate.
An athlete hears the big, rowdy crowd and immediately experiences an unexplainable adrenaline that courses through his/her veins. As a hockey player I can speak from experience when I say that the sport itself and playing it has a certain level of adrenaline that courses through your body. When you make that big play, and catch the ball, save the puck or score a goal and that crowd roars, you just get this feeling that is indescribable, like when a Stanley Cup or Lombardi Trophy winner is posed with the question “How does it feel?” They are always at a loss for words, because it just feels…great!
With the fall seasons winding down, the Pioneer student section definitely went out with a bang. I applaud the use of silly string and powder and the overwhelming turnout alone made this football season the best in my three years at Pioneer. Everyone goes to games on Friday nights, but that doesn’t mean when the football season is over the student section season is over. There are big sports in all seasons and I think that with the free admission for students, more people will show up to them. With more students showing up at each game, there will be rowdy student sections here at Pioneer from now on. And that is good news for Pioneer athletes.