Friday, October 31, 2014

Editorial: Support needed

Liberty University students have become familiar with the saying “Four Quarters of Fury,” but why is it so important that the student body stays for the entire game or, better yet, shows up at all?

According to liberty.edu/flames, the Flames have been known to have one of the best student sections in the Big South Conference, but lately, the student section has not been a good representation of that statement.

Barren — Liberty fans have created a habit of leaving sporting events early. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

Barren — Liberty fans have created a habit of leaving sporting events early. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

“Student athletes play their best in front of big crowds,” Liberty Athletics Director Jeff Barber said. “This is the model of the best teams in the country, and that is certainly who we want to be as well.”

The Liberty men’s basketball team’s season opener and 74-53 victory over Randolph college Friday, Nov. 8 was attended by 7,043 fans and students, but only 2,596 fans attended the 68-63 home loss against Western Carolina, Saturday Nov. 15.

“It is crucial for our fans to come to the games,” Barber said. “Fans give the team a great deal of energy, and when they don’t show up, it takes away the energy level for the team.”

The Liberty University women’s volleyball team has won the Big South Championship for the past two years. Sophomore Caroline Douglas shared that having fans at the games helps her and her team gain momentum to want to perform well for the fans, which ultimately leads to victories.

“It means so much for fans to come support us at our games,” Douglas said. “People talk about home-court advantage, and I think a huge part of home-court advantage is the fans’ support.”

Liberty has been working a great deal to get students to attend games by giving out free thunder sticks, hand-clappers and even posters. They also give away free T-shirts to a certain number of fans who arrive early to the game, but what is the real reason behind Liberty Athletics trying to persuade students to stay for the whole game?

“The fourth quarter is the most important quarter of the game, since many games are decided at that time,” Barber said. “When fans leave early, it has a negative effect on the team. When they stay, not only does it energize the Flames team, but it makes it much harder for the opponent to be successful.”

At the end of the day, we can all agree that we want our athletic teams to be successful, but in order for that to take place, fans have to be willing to support the athletes.

“Some of our games this year have been barnburners,” redshirt sophomore football player Zach Schreiber said. “The support of the fans seriously makes a huge difference late in the second half because most teams are not used to playing in such a high-volume environment.”

It is time for Liberty students to stop making excuses for why not to attend and help cheer the Flames to victory.

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