Attendance on the Rise for Home Basketball Games

Basketball season is coming to an end, but that does not stop the sudden increase in attendance to the men’s home games.

2000 students, families, faculty, alumni, and community members came out to support the University’s men’s basketball team at their last home game. The rapid improvement is overall exciting for both the team and the crowd that come out to cheer on the team.

“When we see the crowd hyped, we get hyped,” stated junior player Jesse Steele. The energy that the crowd produces for the team is contagious and it’s evident how the excitement level at the games is increasing each week with fans coming out.

What brought on this sudden increase in game attendance? There are numerous answers for this question, because with a new team, new program, and new coaches, many people are curious how the team will respond to all of these changes. At each of the games it seems as if there is always something going on. Between the cheerleaders and dance team performing in between plays to the announcers that keep the crowd intrigued, there is no shortage of entertainment.

According to junior Brittany Herrmann, there is definitely a major difference between the games last year and this year. “The atmosphere is very different compared to last year, more upbeat, exciting, and fans are behind the team percent,” described Herrmann.. “There’s an obvious increase in supporters from last year because the games are always crowded now.”

“The more people that come makes you want to play better,” explained senior Mike Meyers Keitt. With the players feeding off the excitement from the crowd, it is becoming obvious that with a little bit of support from the community the Hawks can play an even better game.

Starting off the season with barely a few students occupying the student section of the bleachers, the Universities student section is now overflowing with enthusiasm and positive reinforcement. “We just try to put on a show for everyone,” described Steele. “If we keep winning then we’ll get the attention we’re looking for.”

Along with the support from the student section, other Hawk teams are coming out to help represent their fellow athletes. With the support from the University, the men’s basketball team has been able to give the crowds exciting games that are continuing to attract even more spectators. “Some football players started coming to the games,” explained Head Coach King Rice. “Now more people are starting to notice.”

Along with the students who are showing their support, the community is also making a strong presence at the games. As the new head coach, Rice has taken the initiative to involve himself in the community as much as possible. By doing so he has taken men’s basketball to a level beyond just watching a ball game.

The interaction between the fans and the game is also playing a large role in the athletes’ performance. “Fans are going crazy and getting into the other teams’ heads,” explained Steele. With all of the crazed fans trying to distract the other team, the Mac instantly turns into an echoing dome full of Hawk pride.

“The more people that come to the games makes us want to win for them,” stated Myers Keitt. “It’s like an energy booster for us.” The players explained to me that the overall morale and perseverance they experience from the crowd multiplies as soon as the crowd gets enthusiastic.

Although Coach Rice is excited about the increase in fans, he will not rest until his team is playing in front of a full stadium. Now that he has taken on the community, Rice wants to work harder on influencing more students to come out. “They want to play in front of people they go to school with,” explained Rice.

How can they continue to improve the attendance at games? The players explained that it is very important for them to win more games, and they understand that more wins will bring more fans. Along with winning games, Rice also stressed the importance of playing hard and giving everything into each game and practice.

Overall the team is very thankful from all of the support that they have received from everyone who attends their games and cheers them on. “It’s been great, our students have picked it up. They make it a fun environment for our guys,” expressed Rice. “Our fans have been very supportive even though we haven’t had the best record.”

The Hawks take on St. Francis at home this Thursday at 7:00 pm and hope to have an even larger turn out from the campus community.

PHOTO COURTESY to MU Photography