The whole city of Ann Arbor gathers, some of us wearing our purple with pride, and some others coming from north of the river, calling themselves The Rats. The sun is barely peeking over the old, white-coated wood that makes up the press box behind the stands. Down on the green gridiron below a mob of raging, stalwart, young men storm the field, causing a joyous eruption among the parents, teachers and students to their right. In a few moments the students will hop up and down like popcorn on the rusty bleachers, only half of them actually able to see the game from their spot, but all of them loving every moment. In a few more moments they will break into their chants, their screams, they’ll ride roller coasters, and sing songs. They do it because it’s a Friday in fall and the lights are bright and the stars are out...
Where did that all go?
In spring, it’s quiet in the bleachers, in the outfield, on the links, and down the sidelines. Every athlete loves opening day of their spring sport because they are finally able to get outside and shake the winter blues. However, the fans at Pioneer are less eager to run outside or drive to games than their student-athlete classmates. While Pioneer fields some great teams in the spring, such as the women’s lacrosse team who were state runners-up last year and the women’s crew team who won the state championship, attendance is pitifully low.
As I enter my last season as a Pioneer athlete, I know that no one will cheer me on again while I play. I know this going into the season because by springtime younger students have lost their wide-eyed excitement and upperclassmen have become disinterested in having high school spirit as they have some grander stage to cheer at soon.
What matters is that spring is an exciting start to the beautiful weather that should attract fans to come outside. At the same time, it is also an exciting finish for us seniors who will probably never play a competitive sport again in our lives. Spring sports should be celebrated and attended just as much as any other season, and these athletes, who will soon drop that title forever, should be able to enjoy their dwindling days of representing the Pioneer Purple and White. So when the situation arises in which your friend invites you to his or her Thursday night game, just know that they’re not asking with the intention of getting the same response rate of a telemarketer. They simply want you to hold off on watching the next show in the series on Netflix so they can share with you the enthusiasm they have about finishing the athletic year the right way.