Fans should stick with team for entire game

by Sports Editor Mike Ezekiel

The late Yogi Berra, former catcher for the New York Yankees who passed away Sept. 22 of this year, once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

For athletes, it is a good feeling to look up in the stands and see hundreds of fans cheering them on to victory.

However, when fans begin to file out after their team is losing late in the game, it can be discouraging.

Since UNA had a bye week from football Sept. 19, I watched a few college football games, including the University of Alabama versus the University of Mississippi. I noticed when Alabama got down 30-10 late in the third quarter, fans were already leaving.

As the crowd started to look spotty, the Crimson Tide made a fourth quarter surge to bring it within one possession but came up just short in the end, losing 43-37.

As a Spurs fan, I also recall the 2013 NBA Finals between the Spurs and Heat. In Miami, the Spurs were up five points with less than a minute to go. It appeared the Spurs would win the finals, and Heat fans left early.

Unfortunately for the fans that left, the Heat came back and tied the game, eventually winning in overtime to force game seven.

In both examples, the fans thought their beloved team had already lost, and they missed the best part of the game.

In the process, the athletes who spent hours preparing to play more than likely noticed the fans leaving because they thought the game was over. As a former athlete, I can say seeing that is discouraging.

When leaving a sporting event, consider your motive. Are you giving up on your team, or are you really “beating traffic” as some might say?

UNA Athletic Director Mark Linder said when he sees fans give up on their team, it bothers him.

Linder said UNA does a great job of drawing in large crowds to every sporting event. Research conducted by the NCAA confirms UNA is consistently in the top five nationally in average attendance among Division II schools year in and year out.

I believe UNA has the best fan base in all of Division II. Seeing the majority of fans wearing purple and gold on campus rather than crimson and white or blue and orange is encouraging.

Some games fall on a school night, where students have to wake up early, which is understandable. Emergencies happen. Life happens. Although, there is a difference in leaving due to those factors and leaving because you think the game is over.

Linder said it best when it comes to supporting your favorite team.

“There are a lot of factors as to why people leave early, but I would encourage anyone coming to a game to stay as long they can. That means a lot to our athletes.”