SCH Sports Attendance Continues to Vary

Courtesy+of+SCH+Communications

Courtesy of SCH Communications

Ricky Amorim, Report

You are in a tennis match and it is the championship game that the team has not won in decades. The nerves are high and you put everything on the line to help your team win. It is match point and all you are thinking about is how only one shot is needed for your team to gain the crown. You return the opponent’s serve and the opponent is unable to make contact with the ball. You throw your racket in the air and your teammates pick you up and celebrate. You hold the championship trophy in the air and look at the stands with a big smile on your face. Your heart sinks and your smile quickly goes away, and you come to the realization that nobody witnessed the team’s most special moment of the season and one of the most special moments in the team’s history.

An attendance gap between sports at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (SCH) has been created because on a given day, one might notice some sports have larger crowds than others. The chances of fixing this problem may be very low, but many students and faculty have different ideas to shorten this gap. During game days at SCH, sports such as football draw bigger crowds, but sports that are not as popular as football, such as tennis, draw very small crowds. On October 19, the varsity football team played Episcopal Academy at home under the lights, and students had positive things to say about the attendance.

“The attendance was pretty strong!” said SCH senior Morgan Brown. “All the stands in the SCH section were filled and we also had a ton of students on the field to cheer on the team”.

With students seeing strong football game attendance numbers, tennis on the other hand suffers with lack of attendance, and SCH athletes took notice.

“Attendance for tennis matches is pretty low,” said SCH senior and tennis player Kelly Graves. “Usually it is just parents that come and only on homecoming did we have students attend”.

The attendance gap is noticeable to athletes and students around SCH, but they are not sure why this attendance gap occurs.

“I feel it is because people understand certain sports better,” said SCH senior Hannah Cohen. “Also people are more likely to go if they have friends on the team. Certain social groups play certain sports.”

Some students are frustrated with the attendance gap.

 “I do not feel it is fair,” said SCH Sophomore Jack Sanderson. “I think that professional sports correlates directly to the popularity of school sports. Therefore, popular pro sports like football or basketball get a bigger turn out in those high school levels. It simply is not fair and every sport in our school deserves a good amount of support from the students because it makes our school spirit and our athletic program look good.”

With the attendance gap still being a problem at SCH, students have ideas of possible solutions to shortening the gap, and bringing more people to these “low attendance sports”.

“I think we as students can raise awareness or educate the potential audience about those sports, or we can create incentives,” said SCH junior Thad Warner. “Incentives could motivate people to come to the games.”

The SCH Athletic Department acknowledged the attendance issue, is taking this issue seriously, and is working towards solutions for fixing the attendance gap.

“We started the student athlete counsel and during the first meeting we broke up into groups and discussed how we the athletic department can be better, and attendance of some sports came up,” said SCH athletic director Dave Wilson. “In other meetings we listened to ideas that people had in the counsel and based of what ideas were shared, we feel that the double header night games could draw bigger crowds for these sports. Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that students are more likely to go to games that involve more popular sports such as basketball, football, etc., but we will try to make an effort in increasing the attendance of these other sports that do not draw big crowds”.

Wilson also feels that students can have a role in helping fix the attendance issues, and highly encourages students to do so.

“Students should talk to the student athlete counsel and the athletic department about their ideas,” said Wilson. “As a department we are all ears in hearing ideas that students have in terms of increasing attendance numbers”.