It’s just your team versus the opposing team, right?
Not when it comes to college and professional sports.
Imagine going to the oppositions stadium and having 40,000 plus fans screaming as loud as they can right over your head. How does one focus?
You’re the all-american quarterback, the all-star pitcher, or mister reliable behind the arch. Or maybe you’re the opposite. You’re the shut down corner, or the most dangerous player with a bat in your hand. The fans can’t rattle you.
What am I saying? Of Course they can!
This past Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates played in a one game elimination wild-card playoff game against division rival Cincinnati Reds. This was the first time in 21 years the Pirates even saw playoff baseball as a franchise. If you haven’t been one to watch it, just imagine an entire city behind one team they have not seen playing for a championship since 1992. Yeah, it got loud.
With the blackout in order for the fans, they showed their support with every ounce of emotion they had in them. It was a site to behold even though I was watching the game from my dorm room.
Sporting events are not just about the players and their production. Far from it. The fans have always been a big reason for the way a game turns out.
With baseball, I remember in 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays made the playoffs for the first time ever and Tropicana Field erupted like I have never seen it before. Cow bells were the thing with their fans that postseason where they fell to the Phillies in the World Series.
Although if you want to see a crowd erupt, tune into any St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, or Boston Red Sox postseason game. Even though these teams have been a lot more relevant than the Pirates the last 20 years, the fans still don’t take it for granted. The places are so loud and the fans never lose support.
All around sports, the fans are like this. Tune into an NFL game, and almost every stadium is filled with the noisy fans looking for a win from their team that week. Places like Seattle, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Cleveland are great examples of this.
However, nothing against the fans bases of the respected franchises, but you haven’t seen anything until you tune into a college football or basketball game.
In college football, you have the crazy SEC stadiums with what looks like 100,000 people. There’s the Big House at Michigan and the Horse Shoe at Ohio State. Out west you have Autzen Stadium home of the Oregon Ducks, and the coliseum at USC. There is just so much tradition at these places and I haven’t even mentioned Wisconsin, Clemson, Texas A&M, Florida, Texas, or Notre Dame. The student body is just so crazy Saturday afternoons, it’s almost as much fun watching the crowds erupt, embrace tradition, and storm the field as it is to watch the players play.
In college hoops, you have the crazy fans behind the hoop with all the big goofy signs held up trying to distract the shooter from making a free throw or a game winning three pointer. It’s quite intimidating to watch the players go through that. And when there is a major upset, it’s guaranteed the crowd will rally and storm the courts.
It’s all a sight to behold really. I couldn’t imagine what would be going on in the heads of all these players. When a team is home for a big game, you had better believe that the crowd is a huge advantage to the team. The crowd can make even the best players look like they just picked up the ball for the first time in their life.
Arthur’s Pick ’em week 7:
Cincinnati 23 @ Detroit 14
Dallas 27 @ Philadelphia 23
Denver 48 @ Indianapolis 24