Bring the Energy

Leyton Pullin, Sports Editor

Bridgewater, Va. – For any athlete, there is nothing quite like taking the field or court with stands stacked to the brim and knowing that you have an entire army of people behind you that are feeding you the energy needed to get past your opponent.

The late Chester Bennington said, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” I had never realized this personally until this past year as fans were not allowed to attend any indoor events on-campus and, essentially, only families were allowed to attend any outside sporting events.

Nininger Hall was near silent during basketball and volleyball games, except for when junior Ann-Marie Johnson fired a kill horn and the entire bench erupted, or when senior Andy Pack hit nothing but nylon on a three and the bench loved it.

The only cheers on the tennis courts was a “c’mon” from senior Matthew Gordon, after a big shot or a clap from the few parents that truly understood the sport. Jopson Field was left bare with less than 25% capacity allowed at games — which accounted for some cheering, but not as much as we all knew and loved.

I had alway been told by Head Tennis Coach Jordon Robinson to “bring good energy.” I had never really understood what that meant, until last spring when we made a trip to Washington and Lee and had to play inside where no spectators were allowed in. The match was quite literally just us against them, it was one of the loneliest feelings ever.

Flash forward to Sept. 18, as the football team welcomed Randolph-Macon to Jopson Field in a matchup of the past two ODAC champions. Not a single seat was left open in the stands and as soon as the Eagles took the field, the chills and goosebumps from the roar of the crowd brought all of that energy back.

Flash forward another week as BC volleyball hosted Randolph-Macon on Sept. 29, in the first bleed crimson game in over a year and a half. There was not an empty seat in Nininger Hall; you could feel the electricity in the air all the way leading up to the start of the match.

Randolph-Macon served to start the match and senior Macguire Gubba tossed it up and sent it right in the net as the crowd exploded. BC stormed in front to a two set to none lead, feeding off of the energy from the crowd the entire time. However, after the second set the crowd began to leave and the tone in the building began to change as well.

The Yellow Jackets stormed in front in the third set and would even fight off BC match points in the fourth set to win and eventually take the match in the decider 15-9, as the crowd thinned.

Crowd energy is not just great to have, it is almost necessary for success in sports. If you look at some of the most successful teams in all of sports, they are all driven by their fanbases. For an example, look no further than the Duke basketball program. The first thing that comes to mind is hall of fame coach Mike Kzryzewski, second would be his legendary group of players and lastly Cameron Indoor Stadium and the famous “Cameron Crazies,” where the Blue Devils are 179-12 since the 2004-05 season.

Fans back on campus and in venues is something we had been missing. Now that we are allowed to go out and cheer on our peers again, it is something that we need to take advantage of — not just because it is a fun thing to do — but because it is imperative for success. Let’s make opposing teams fear coming down East College Street.