Dive in ‘n’ run

Fans shouldn’t allow game results to be the defining factor of their experience

The fall air is quiet, cool and calm, but the same can’t be said for the atmosphere inside of the stadium. It’s Friday night, and the feeling is electric. Everyone is pumped up for the football game. And it’s not the result of the game that fans are looking forward to: It’s the Friday night lights feeling.
They want to spend time with friends. They want to yell cheers at the top of their lungs. They want to go get their favorite snack from the concession stand. They want to pump their fists in the air and jump up and down on the bleachers after a good play. They want to have an unforgettable night.
Of course they’d love to see their team capture the win, but even if that doesn’t happen, they know that their night will still be worthwhile. All of the other experiences of the game will still have happened.

Whether their team wins or loses doesn’t make the cumulative experience of the game any more or less valuable.
Even though the past two football season have only brought losses for the Cards, there is still so much that SHS students are able to gain from going to the games and taking part in school spirit.
I’m not oblivious to the fact that it is fun to go to a game where your team wins, and I know that it’s awesome to cheer on a team that’s super successful. But I’m just pointing out that winning isn’t the only, or even the most, valuable aspect of sporting events.
I was at the Purdue vs. Indiana State football game earlier this year, and the Boilers shut down the Sycamores 56-0. That was undeniably fantastic, but what made the experience memorable was the atmosphere that accompanied it.
The student section was so invested in cheering their team on. The cheerleaders were performing incredible stunts, and the band’s halftime show was spectacular. Honestly, I didn’t even remember the score of the game, and I had to look it up to include in this column.
However, even though the specific score may have faded from my brain, I definitely didn’t forget the feeling. Even now, I can still close my eyes and feel as though I’m right back in my seat on the bleachers, my hand tooting a pretend train horn and my voice screaming “Boiler Up!”
So how do we change our mentality about what makes a game fun? For me, the simplest way to accomplish this is to proactively do things to make the game fun rather than hoping that the outcome of the game will reactively bring that same excitement.
Instead of waiting for a spectacular play to cheer, just spout that encouragement every second. Pay attention to each second of the event. Be engaged in the action. Encourage the players. Don’t spend your entire time looking at the scoreboard. I promise no one will die if you peel your eyes away from it, and I’d also bet some good money that you’d enjoy yourself more if you weren’t so hung up on it.
In the end, the energy that you put into the game is what you will remember. People tend to forget numbers, but emotions stay for the long haul, according to Slam Media Lab founder Silvia Li Sam.
If you spend every game stuck up on having to win, you’ll miss out on all of the other wonderful things going on around you.
It’s just like the saying that the journey is more important than the destination. Everything that happens at a game combines to a sum much too big and complex to be expressed by a simple “win or lose” mentality. In 20 years you won’t remember what the score of a specific game or meet was, but you will remember how you felt, and I suggest you make it worthwhile.