November 15, 2011
By Anonymous

On the sidelines of the freshly cut football field where the opponent is up by at least twenty-eight, there I stood and watched as all the people except our parents cleared the stands. Needless to say, we did not win. Along with the rest of our season, our game did not turn out to be in our favor. The only feeling that’s worse than losing is losing and knowing there’s no support system. Other than our coaches and families, no one is there to tell us to keep pushing through the hard times and that quitting is wrong and not an option. Instead, my teammates and I have to hear, “Why do you even try?” and “Don’t you think you should quit?” from our peers. I understand it’s difficult to cheer for a team that has more loses than wins, but, I believe, it is more difficult to maintain the attitude of a winner when nobody supports the team. If they continuously remind us of our losing, how do they expect us to win? Why they leave our games during half time may be because they do not want to see the team suffer anymore, but when I was asked, “You coming to our volleyball game tonight?” I thought of how many times I have seen the very team that wants us to watch their game, leave ours.

“So are you?” she asked.

I replied with, “Probably not. I have this little thing called football practice.” It was awkward as she gave me a blank stare, revealing her wonder of, ‘Why is he angry?’
Now, the volleyball has been doing great this season, and I realize it is important for us as a school to show up at their games, congratulate them on their success, and wish them luck for the rest of their season. I recently was able to go to one of their games. The hallways surrounding the gym were filled with the scent of salty chips and nacho cheese. Inside the gym, a shiny court and bright lights could be found. It was a neat experience to see how the student section made it their duty to make sure the players knew they were there for them and ready to cheer them to victory.
“Good job!”
“Way to go!”
“That’s all right!”
The fans were yelling out anything in an endearing voice to help the girls brush any mistake off and move forward in a positive direction. I participated in some of the chants and cheers because I wasn’t familiar with all of them. In the middle of yelling and clapping, I quickly thought of how this feels all new. Then, I realized it’s because my team never gets any of the encouragement and support I was giving the volleyball team. I would not necessarily call it jealousy, but I did want to know how it felt to be supported through mistakes and great plays. I would never wish to take away the amazing encouragement the volleyball team has received. I just wish the same encouragement for my team.

I see how happy the players are when they do something right together and how their faces light up when they get an applause after a good spike. With my team, it’s so hard to stay together when games do not go the way we want. Watching the volleyball team, it is not hard to tell how easy staying together is when games are going great. With my team, it would be easy to point fingers when something goes wrong, but we have each other’s backs and encourage each other. A cheer or chant from the stands, not just the cheerleaders, could really push us in the right direction.

As I approached our last football game of the season, I was hoping for the type of involvement that I had experienced at the last volleyball game. For a while, we weren’t doing too badly. Then, when one mistake occurred, it was hard to move on from it. We put up a good fight, but that obviously wasn’t enough. Of course, I only had to listen if the stands were supportive, and I heard nothing. At some point during the game, I decided not to care whether or not the “fans” had the team’s back. I was sure they left after they noticed the game would be hard to turn around, but I didn’t take the time to turn and look. It was either that I was too involved in the game, or I didn’t want to know if they were leaving. My guess is they did leave after some time, but it wasn’t out of the ordinary for our stands; and I wouldn’t let it ruin my night for the umpteenth time. Obviously, the enthusiasm from the volleyball game did not carry over to our last game, but I played for my team and myself, not the stands. I was proud to realize that although it would be nice for my team to receive more encouragement from our peers, it’s even better to know that all the encouragement we need is from our families and each other.

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