By Matt O’Connor
Allen Fieldhouse. Cameron Indoor. Rupp Arena. Pauley Pavilion.
All have one thing in common: they are all known as the most intimidating venues in all of sports, and opposing teams hate playing there.
These collegiate basketball shrines are well-known for the defaning, overbearing and sometimes vicious crowds of students that call these arenas home.
The student section at any game, college or high school, is the most vital part of a true home field advantage.
Unfortunately, this year student body participation at school spoting events has dropped significantly.
A simple remedy to this problem is the continuation and further addition of in-school sporting events.
Last year, during the in-school basketball game, St. Thomas walloped Fort Bend Christian by a score of 74-19 and the mass of students had a large part to do with that.
The Fort Bend players were visibly shaken by the imposing presence of the student body, and the relentless chanting and yelling echoing down from the student section flustered and forced them into committing careless mistakes.
Senior Michael Payne says he is saddened to see the alternation of teams chosen for the in-school event every year and wishes that there would be an in-school game for each sport every year.
“I really am going to miss the in-school basketball game this year,” Payne said. “I feel that it is unfair to me, and the whole senior class, that we should have to go watch soccer instead of a basketball game”.
Although in-school events are important, but participation at soccer games is slightly meaningless.
The distance from the stands to the field is substantial.
Not to mention that yelling at someone to miss a kick is not all that effective compared to basketball, where students are literally right next to the action, screaming at opposing players.
Basketball coach John Kwok says that the massive student support is something that he looks forward to every time his team takes the court.
“St. Thomas has the best fans in the city. Reckling Gymnasium is a special place and has to be one of the hardest road games in the state,” Kwok said.
“We have a huge home court advantage and opponents struggle playing at Reckling because of our fans. I want to see the gym packed this year. I know the Eagle Guard, which has done great job for football, is going to keep that momentum going for basketball,”
The in-school games also provide a chance for students to watch some sports and teams that they otherwise would not have the opportunity to enjoy.
Senior Harrison Grant says that the in-school games provide him this very opportunity and to cheer on his classmates, something he is usually not able to do.
“Being a record holding cross country runner, I’m pretty busy. The in-school games, especially the on campus tournament, are a great way for those like myself to watch St. Thomas. Taking it away would be a travesty.”
In-school sporting events are a cornerstone of student life here at St. Thomas, and removing it would rob both the students and the athletes participating in an awesome and unforgettable experience. More in-school events should be introduced to provide support for Eagle athletics.
In school events help re-inforce the fact that Eagle Fight never does die.