Sports Editorial: The Deafening Silence of Empty Stands

By Katrina Schell, Performing Arts Division Head. Photo by Amy Chaney.

We lost the battle. Oof. I get it. The whole night leading up to the final loss, I was convincing myself that it was impossible we could lose the drum. I mean, it has been ours for so long; it seems like a piece of the community was taken from us. I also understand that this was a real hit to our pride. School spirit is very important to keep a school community running positively, and watching all the Concord kids run onto the court after the boys varsity game was salt in the wound. However, the painful loss of the drum was not the biggest loss of the night; after the boys varsity basketball game, our sense of community was lost.

The bleachers after our third loss were a ghost town. Where just ten minutes ago the bleachers were overflowing and dozens of people crowded the doors to fit in, there were perhaps three dozen people in the stands, with many more seats open. Not a single cheer came from the crowd for the rest of the night, and even Leroy’s spirits were broken. “There’s nothing to cheer for,” one onlooker admitted. But is that entirely true? The girls varsity team was the final game of the night, and yet their fan section was nearly empty.

When did we, as a community, become so dependent on the outcome of a game? The drum is important to us, I understand, but why is losing a single year after a ten year reign such a hardship that we cannot even support one more game? Just 32 more minutes, two halves, and then it would all be over. The lack of attendance for the girls’ varsity basketball game on Friday was not an indicator of our sadness. It was the result of our sadness, but it revealed underlying issues in our community. To us, winning is more important than the hard work our athletes have put in, and it is an indicator that our community is fickle, our confidence is lost easily, and that we do not actually care about supporting a team unless it will actively benefit us.

The girls’ team won, although not many were there to witness it in person. Our girls varsity basketball team is stellar, and yet since the outcome of their game would have no impact on the people not playing the game, many went home. The work our girls put in deserves recognition, it deserves an audience, and they deserve a loud fan section. As LCA, were we really exhibiting the core value of excellence when we gave up on them? I hesitate to ask, if our girls had lost and the boys were the last game, would more people have stayed? We say that we are in support of our athletes, but really, we are in support of the drum, and the people that make that happen are just the cogs in the machine of school spirit.

To conclude the night, we begrudgingly handed off the drum to the Concord team. Even I had a hard time handling this (and also forgot that this happens since I take it for granted every year), and so I waited in the hallway. I can excuse people not attending this because it was a very painful moment, but perhaps I should not be excusing this. Maybe we should take a page out of Concord’s playbook on this topic. Last year, they handed off the drum with a full auditorium. Even though it was probably rubbing the last ten or so years in their faces, most of them at least stayed there to watch. Out of respect, we should have returned this courtesy. And yet our bleachers remained empty.

Is this school all about winning and losing? I understand that it is hard to get excited about a team when they are continually losing, and it did not make us happy to lose the drum. And yet, are our egos so big that losing the drum one time in a decade completely severs our school spirit? And did the girls’ basketball team, although their outcome made no difference to the drum, really not even deserve half the crowd as the other games? They won! The lack of fans truly displayed the strength of our community’s support. As stereotypical millennial parents say when they know nothing is going to change, I am not angry, I am just disappointed.