Teams’ spirits sorely miss fan reactions
Spirit. Although a singular short word, the word “spirit” encapsulates West Essex athletes and fans. Whether it’s the thunderous stomps on the bleachers to create energy that ripples throughout the stadium, going all out for the football Blackouts and Redouts or just cheering for the teams, our community greatly contributes to making the West Essex sports atmosphere unlike any other schools.
Unique to many other schools, fans enjoy watching the game as much as the players enjoy playing it. Their passion is prominent throughout the games as the stadium is never silent, someone is always cheering. Sadly, but understandably, due to the coronavirus, our administration has been forced to restrict the number of people who can go to a game, and which specific people are allowed to attend. Although the fans permitted in each game do their best to mimic the spirit of past years, there is definitely a difference in this year’s sporting events.
The most obvious sport that fan attendance is having an impact on is football. Students and families make up the majority of the fan section, but student spirit contributes tremendously to the excitement of the game.
After hearing fans’ energy in the stadium since his sophomore year, senior Nick Lagreca has been waiting for his senior year. However, the atmosphere during games has been noticeably different than past years.
“Usually we hear the crowd when there is a big play cheering us on and giving us energy, but now there are a lot less fans and especially no student section,” Lagreca said. “Hopefully more fans will be able to come to be loud and bring more energy to the game.”
As of now the only people who have been given permission to go to games are parents. At football games there are parents of cheerleaders, band and football that when combined fill the 500 person limit. This has made siblings frustrated, as they are not allowed to watch their brothers play or sisters cheer.
“I feel upset and annoyed that I am not able to go,” freshman Ava Vissagio said. “As a sibling I enjoy being able to watch my brother because he only has one more season in high school after this one and I want to see him play.”
Fan frustration is completely understandable, but at the same time students know the school is just trying to keep us all safe.
Football coach, Christopher Benacquista said the reduced number of fans has been noticeable, but he understands that staying safe is more important than a football game
“I do wish we could have more fans and some of our students could come to the games, but unfortunately this is life during a pandemic,” Benacquista said.
Both fans and players continue to remain hopeful that by the end of the season students will be able to go support the team. However, until state rules allow for more fans, students are forced to stay benched.