With the exception of the Homecoming football match and the occasional Mountain View-Los Altos game, it has become the norm that the stands remain empty. Save for the parents and the few students who are there only for extra credit in P.E.
The school is fortunate enough to have some very successful athletic teams, but the student body hardly acknowledges this. The school needs to work to make sporting events something truly exciting that would make students want to attend.
In making athletic activities more appealing, the school would be both increasing school spirit and creating a hangout place for students that might otherwise get involved in unsafe activities. Athletes would appreciate having more people appreciating their hard work and could even benefit directly.
“In athletics, having support makes you play better,” sophomore Mark Conrad said. “It’s a new element that makes you raise the bar for yourself.”
Clubs and student groups could use athletic competitions as venues for raising awareness and increasing student interest in the group. Fundraisers and bake sales are just the start of the possibilities—and there would be no repercussions for competing with the district’s cafeteria.
“If there were a possibility that we could increase attendance at sporting events, then clubs and other groups could definitely have the potential to use it as a venue,” ASB Activities Commissioner junior Talea Seyed said. “But given the present attendance rate, I don’t see that as a current possibility.”
By neglecting to take action that would make games appealing to students, the administration has failed to access what could be a wealth of opportunities. The school must realize that in order to foster a better sense of community, it must motivate students to have spirit rather than mandate it.
Freshman Curran Mahowald said that Homecoming was the only sports game she attended this year because she knew that others would be present.
“I definitely think that if sports games were a social event, then people would go,” Curran said. “I would have to be something really creative, though. At a marching band event I went to, they taught us how to march on the field at halftime. At Stanford games, they have free throws at halftime for prizes.”
Apart from halftime shows and activities, the school could encourage students to get involved in other ways. Foam fingers, giveaways and raffles are just the beginning of the ways to drive students to these games, and some could even generate additional revenue for the school.
Spectators can attend many games for free, and this convenience should not be a secret. According to Athletic Director Kim Cave, the spring sports are free for students to attend, as they require little maintenance or rental costs.
Students can enjoy a host of other benefits once at the game, but most simply do not know about them.
“Softball has a tasty snack bar, but do you ever hear about that on the announcements?” Mark said. “It’s totally under-publicized.