By Megan Hecox
Recently, the Resident Press communities have seen a rise in productiveness within their schools’ athletics. Due to this success, it seems Tiger, Hornet, and Bulldog pride is building daily. Almost all teams in every level of sports have done outstanding so far in 2018 and that trend looks to continue with Basketball, Baseball, Softball, and Track season. It is a great feeling when our communities are successful in athletic competitions.
But what happens to that pride once a losing streak starts? When teams are winning, fans will drive all across the state to cheer them on but when a team is losing, people are hard-pressed to drive a 1/2 mile to a home game. The stands empty out. The noise generated by town pride slowly starts to fade away. Some believe it is only natural to lose support when a team is not winning. In all actuality, it is cultural.
If a positive culture is built behind the local sports programs, then it will stay behind that program no matter the outcome. The same can be said for a negative culture. The term “football town” or “basketball town” is coined for towns with a positive culture in their community about that specific sport or activity. If you notice, those communities tend to paint their town in pride. They rally behind their programs after a loss and celebrate after a win. They back their programs 110% regardless of what their stats read. That’s why they are successful year in and year out.
From Little League to High School, our athletes consistently work day in and day out for the support of their communities. Win, lose or draw, our student-athletes strive for the best for their Alma Matters. It means the world to these players and builds their confidence levels when the stands are packed full of encouraging fans. Seeing signs in the stores, people wearing team t-shirts around town, and a “Good Game” from someone, really builds a player up and gives them faith. Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.
For the success of our programs to continue, we need to build cultures of support for our coaches and our players. Bring back “The Jungle” in Mansfield. Bring back “The Hive” in Hackett. Bring back “The Dog Pound” in Waldron. Paint the towns Red, Yellow, and Orange again. Everyone wins some and loses some. But if we create the culture of support that these kids deserve, then they will have the drive to give their communities Championships in return. We know our athletes do their part. Now let’s do ours.