For as long as there have been sports spectacles, there have been sports fans. Today, there are a multitude of different ways for people to categorize themselves or others as “fans”: the bandwagon fans, superfans, casual fans, fair-weather fans, hometown fans, fans of specific players, fans of specific teams, fans of a certain sport, diehard fans, and the list can go on. Most notably, we can see how sports teams are reacting and engaging with fans. For example, the Pro Football Hall of Fame recently announced the inaugural class into the Ford Hall of Fans. Roger Avila (Miami Dolphins), Rick Holman (Pittsburgh Steelers), and Don Wachter (Chicago Bears) will all be honored in Canton, Ohio for the passion and love for the game and their team (“Trio of New Ford Hall of Fans Members Announced during Super Bowl Weekend will be Recognized at HOF”).
Sports fans also have the ability to have a small effect on the outcome of game., Most recently, for instance, on April 27th, 2019, Spurs head Coach, Greg Popovich, was attempting to tell LaMarcus Aldridge to foul in the last thirty seconds of the game. However, because they were playing in Denver, the electric crowd made it hard to hear anything on the court. Now, this is not to say that the fans themselves won the game for Denver, but it would have been easier to communicate without the added voices from the crowd.
Each day there are new examples of teams engaging with fans on a new level. But how does this play out at Trinity? It seems that there are many alumni and faculty who have deep a passion for Trinity football, but, being an ex-football player, I have witnessed first-hand the mediocrity of the fan attendance of recent memory. This is not to say there has not been growth with the help of Administrative support as well as support from organizations like Trinity PAWS (Parents & Alumni with Spirit), a Trinity University parent and alumni organization that provides support to the Trinity University Football players. But this was not always the case. I would argue that, although there were significant grassroots campaigns organized by Trinity students through the 1980s to garner interest in football, there was not enough of an administrative effort to have football fandom permeate throughout the Trinity community.
As a former athlete, it is hard for me to put into context the effects crowds, fans, and large attendance at my games have affected my play or my overall enjoyment of the sport I was playing at the time. Some of the most fun games I’ve played in were as a kid in front of only my teammates’ and opponents’ parents or families. However, some of the most electric games that have brought in loud and rambunctious crowds have been a one of a kind experience. As a player, I never really saw a reason not to go to the games I was participating in throughout high school and college. Students aren’t doing their homework past six o’clock on Friday and they’re assuredly not doing it every Saturday, but maybe that’s just me.