This week marks the start of most high school spring sports throughout the county, and it’s a great time to finally get out of the house and enjoy the early sunshine.
With sports and the sun both beginning to be an everyday activity, it allows for everyone to find their team-colored jacket and head out to a lacrosse game or head over to the baseball and softball fields to root on the local high school. This seemingly systematic routine of support raises a question about what these local high school sports truly mean for the communities that surround them.
When one attends a high school game in Tompkins County, it becomes apparent that high school sports are a family ordeal. An athlete’s parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, and even more extended family make it out to watch their family member compete.
Looking beyond those who are related to the athlete, it’s hard to miss the abundance of community members who, while not having a relative play in the game, are still there and supporting the team as if they did.
So why are these people showing so much support for a team that they have no immediate ties to? The answer is more complex than someone simply loving the sport and wishing to go watch a game. High school sports matter on a more far-reaching level than most people realize.
In the fall sports season, during the IAC Championship game, the Lansing Bobcats scored a goal that came from senior Langston Hopkins. The elated fan base rose to their feet as Hopkins ran by the stands, pointing at the Lansing High School crest on his chest.
The celebration was more than just a flashy display after a go-ahead goal. It was a display of affection for the school and the community that had come out to support the Bobcats in their quest for the IAC title.
Many of the local high schools have at least one variation of their uniforms that have simply the school or community name displayed on them, rather than the school’s nickname.
This is not simply to display the name of the school, but also to show a unifying sign for all of those who have worn that uniform at some point and those who never have but reside in the surrounding community.
The Newfield Trojans wear the town’s name prominently displayed above the numbers on their basketball uniforms. The basketball community in the Newfield area is already a large contingent of people, but the support for the Trojans reaches out beyond just basketball fans.
During playoff games for both the boy’s and girl’s teams, Newfield residents line the sidewalks outside of the school, hours before the opening tip. The success of the local team unifies sports fans and community members together under one banner.
For athletes, one phrase has become seemingly overused throughout generations, but is actually relevant with each utterance; “The name on the front of the jersey is more important than the one on the back.”
This sentiment is all too perfect for high school sports. With no names on the back of uniforms, the only name that is seen on the field or on the court is the name of the community.
This spring, as many local residents are looking for a way to take in the reemerging sunshine, take the time to attend a high school sporting event in your community, the community that represents you. Support the student-athletes who proudly wear the pride of their community across their uniforms.
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