Cheering them on

Fans aren’t the ones to carry the ball into the endzone or make it in the net as the final buzzer blows or slide into base in the nick of time — but fans are still an important part of the game.

“When I played sports in high school it was awesome to have enthusiastic fans cheering for you,” said UNA soccer athletic trainer Lindsey Kent. “It makes you feel great to have support and makes you want to work hard for not just your team but the fans also.”

Having been both a player and a trainer, Kent said fans are important to the whole team.

“Fan support is always important whether you’re the athlete playing or like me, an athletic trainer” Kent said. “Fan support is what helps make the atmosphere, and I feel like fan support can sometimes make or break situations in athletics.”

Fan support would be nothing without some of its most die-hard fans. UNA transfer Jake Rodgers hardly misses a game.

“Sports are important to me because it is a break away from all the stresses in my life,” he said. “It’s a place where I can go for peace and quiet.”

Fan support is important and plays a big part during an important game. It has the power to influence.

“It makes it hard to want to keep playing when you’re down and your fans have given up on you,” Kent said. “So no matter the situation, fans should always be loud and encouraging.”

Kent has been involved with sports her whole life. Even if she is not playing, fan support still has an impact on her.

Sports had a great deal of influence on her career choice.

“My love for sports definitely had a huge impact on me choosing athletic training as a career,” Kent said. “Since I knew I was never going to play sports at a collegiate level, I knew I still wanted to be around sports, so this seemed like the best job choice for me since I don’t see myself having a desk job. So being able to give back to athletics and helping athletes is something special.”

True fans are proud of their team whether they win or lose.

“It makes me proud to cheer for a team like UNA who is one of the best and toughest universities in Division II,” Rodgers said.

Kent also loves contributing her fan support.

“I absolutely love being a part of a crowd in a huge, important, serious game,” Kent said. “Even if you’re not playing and there is a big moment in a game, it makes you feel as if you just a scored that winning touchdown or layup. When your team loses in big matches like that, it can make you sad or hurt for your team, too.

“It may just be my athletic background that makes me like that, but the feelings can be indescribable sometimes. The tied-in-the-fourth-quarter feeling of adrenaline through your body is crazy.”

Games can often be unpredictable, especially a close game. That is when fan support matters most.

“As an athlete it is like just when you think you can’t give any more, you just keep pushing and working to beat your opponent,” Kent said. “As a fan, I think it just gets you excited and pumped up for your team, because anything could happen.”

Fan support is all about pride. Pride for the school and pride for the game.

“Whether you’re a part of the team or a fan, when you win, everyone wins,” Kent said.