Defining School Spirit Sports

Home court appreciated by athletes, validated by records

Photo by Gray Olson ’17 | Students cheer from the front row Oct. 17 during the 2014 football season. Brophy defeated Chaparral 17-9 Oct. 17 in a home game played at Camelback High School.

By Gabe Morrison ’17
THE ROUNDUP

Athletes of various sports recognize that home field advantage significantly and positively impacts their performance during competitions.

Though many athletes and their coaches often did not equate playing their on home turf with any better strategy or execution, they felt the Broncos played harder at home.

Second-year varsity football lineman Brendan Coleman ’16 said he loves playing at home games.

“I love it. There’s a bunch of energy, there’s always music playing,” Coleman said.

Coleman said that the team was more motivated and “pumped up” at home this season, and he said that at home, Bronco fans were more positive.

“Regardless of a bad play or a good play, they are always cheering. It’s always positive reenforcement at home,” Coleman said.

Football head coach Mr. Scooter Molander agreed with Coleman that playing at home pumped the team up.

“Any time the fans get into the game and there is excitement and a reason to go to the games, it’s a home field advantage,” Mr. Molander said.

Mr. Molander added that the concrete stands of Phoenix College helped radiate the sound better.

“It’s a mental aspect, and what we have seen is the great Red Army has really intimidated some people over the years not only because they are loud, but because they look at the situation like ‘gee, I wish we had a fan base like that,’” Mr. Molander said.

According to the football page on Brophy’s website, the football team is 27 and 8 at home over the last five years, while it is 17 and 12 playing away in the same timeframe when playing away.

All games at Phoenix College and Camelback High School have been counted as home, while any other field is considered away.

This academic year was the first that the swim and dive team used the Brophy Aquatic Center, which resides on campus.

The team previously used Brophy East Pool near 28th Street and Campbell Road.

Head swim coach Mr. Patrick O’Neill agreed that a strong crowd base helped his swimmers compete better, and he said that the new facility has seen better attendance.

“I do notice that there are more students there. Attendance seems to be higher. There seems to be more excitement on the new facility,” Mr. O’Neill said, though he noted that after only one season at the new campus, the sample size for comparison was small.

Two-year varsity basketball player Mason Zwillinger ’15 agreed that energy could make a difference in close games, and he added that turnout for basketball games was especially good this year.

“Especially this year, we had really great turnouts, some of the best in the state, and not only was the turnout big, but the energy in the crowd is good too,” Zwillinger said.

Though Zwillinger said that energy from the opposing crowd could negatively impact the team’s game, sometimes it could be beneficial too.

“Sometimes in late game situations, it can give you more energy too though. There’s a fine line between having the energy you need and letting your emotions take over,” Zwillinger said.

To balance those emotions Zwillinger said you have to “feed off the energy without personally paying attention to it and letting that take over in place of your game.”

Two year Student Council member Chris Ashton ’15 said that they try to keep crowds engaged.

“We don’t give our fans the time to get disengaged,” Ashton said.

“We are always doing something, whether that’s just moving or yelling, and by doing that it give them something to focus on, a task at hand. It allows them to stay into the game.”

The “roller coaster,” chants, “spirit fingers” during Bronco free throws, “Silent Night” at Hoopcoming and chanting players names after good plays are some of the ways Student Council engages the crowd.

Ashton, also a varsity baseball player, said that the team has a better chance of winning with a good home crowd.

“The more people there are, the better chance we have at winning. Playing for a crowd is such a better feeling… and it gives you a reason to perform to the best of your ability,” Ashton said.