Commonwealth Times’ Sports Twitter
Friday night at the Siegel Center as the Final Four banner is unfurled before the game, the stadium will be at maximum capacity and almost everyone in the building will be standing and clapping.
Presumably, the majority of the 7,600 people applauding for the biggest moment in school history will include the 2,000 students that were lucky enough – and showed up early enough – to comprise the student sections behind each basket on such a historic night. Indeed, support for the program is at such record levels, the only thing that’s in doubt is how many students will get turned away.
Yet, after the pre-game hoopla is over, and the game is getting ready to begin, half of the student section – the West End – will almost certainly sit down, while the other half – the East End – won’t even consider such a proposition for a second.
And therein lies one of the great paradoxes surrounding VCU’s men’s basketball program: Every single game, half of our stadium appears full of exuberant, enthusiastic and intimidating super-fans while the other seems saturated with fair-weather fans who insist upon using their seat and make for a less-imposing atmosphere as a result.
For years, that’s just been the way things were and accepted as is.
But, after the very team fans are there to watch in the first place showed the entire nation that VCU is not an average place, I think it’s time for us as fans to step up to the plate, too.
As they read this, some students may be thinking to themselves, “Why is it important for all students to stand up during the game?” The reason is multi-faceted and lies in things ranging from pushing the players to bettering perception.
First and foremost, players in all sports regularly admit they feed off of crowds – particularly loud and proud crowds. When VCU players are attacking the East End, where fans stand up, they see the rambunctious fans going crazy for them and are inspired to play just that extra ounce harder or try for that ridiculous alley-oop slam just that extra bit more.
Additionally, when opposing players, coaches and fans show up to the Siegel Center to play VCU, they’re half as intimidated as they could be because only half the students are helping impose the home-court advantage.
So, if you’re a student who regularly supports VCU basketball and sits in the usually-sitting side, I encourage you to help reverse this trend and, by doing so, turn the Siegel Center into even more of a fortress of a stadium than it has already become.
Starting this Friday, I challenge any fan that usually sits in the West End to stand. Even if you and your friends are the only ones at first, you’re not being weird, trust me. Others will catch on, and eventually the snowball effect could see the entire section finally stand up.
If you want to see examples of what a boisterous crowd can do for a program, just watch a game at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium, where the fans are so loud, bonkers and in-your-face crazy that opposing players regularly admit they had an impact on the game.
Not to the same lengths perhaps, but VCU can become that. And we should.
Why? Because last March, the Rams basketball players went to exceedingly great lengths to show the entire country that VCU is something special.
It’s on us as students to prove it.
*Note: If fans don’t accomplish the goal of getting the West End to stand in a few weeks, The CT Sports will be taking to the stands themselves in an effort to make it happen, and will document the process along the way.
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