Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Camp Hill "Crazies"

Two years ago, I stood in a crowd amongst fifty of my peers attempting to fester the word "diesel" into the mind of the huskiest kid on the Middletown boys varsity basketball team. Mission accomplished; several of his crucial foul shots were missed as we narrowly defeated the Blue Raiders in the closing seconds of the game. Although yesterday, when a player from the same opposition tossed up an abysmal shot late in the third-quarter, not even an "airball" chant followed. Described by a Lion witnessing our performance from the floor as "a disgrace to be blunt," the Camp Hill Crazies have definitely seen their better days. With that said, here are some things I believe our section is lacking:

Sole Leader- Back in the day, Colin Hester, was the pinnacle of high school student section leaders. Enthusiastic and knowledgeable of the atmosphere, Colin did a phenomenal job conducting our basketball supporters. Not only did he dictate chants, get the most out of surrounding individuals, and think of fun and creative ways to showcase our section during games, but he also was great at uniting the section as one and making everyone feel valued as a Crazy. Due to this attribute, many "on-the-fence" supporters not only started coming to games, but even began actively participating in chants believing their hand-swing might be the one to force the opponent's foul-shot wide. If someone could fill this void as Crazies leader, not only do I think our section attendance would increase, but group involvement would also amplify.

Focus on the Game- If you've ever taken the time to look around during a game, it's pretty embarrassing. With half the "Crazies" engulfed in their phones or averted from the game, talking to their friends a few rows back, you wonder if students even know a game's going on right in front of them. I understand high school sports games can be social events, but you have to remember what you paid your $4 for. The constant breaks, timeouts, and pauses between quarters aren't just there to give the players a break, they're for the fans too. Take advantage of these intervals to talk to John or Sally about the chemistry exam you had yesterday; but once the whistle blows your focus should change. With our purpose being to cheer on our team while discouraging the opposition in an attempt to sway the outcome of the game, fans have a larger impact than we might think; they're called the "6th or 12th man" for a reason. With that said, if the Crazies can put an active effort into watching the game a bit more than what we have been, I not only think participation and influence will increase, but so will people's appreciation for the sport itself.

Event Promotion- There's a reason why every ESPN commercial break showcases upcoming bowl games or lackluster NBA bouts; because otherwise nobody would know or care about these events. By advertising games as early as possible, in addition to hyping up pre-game beef between opposing players, sports networks are able to maximize their viewer turnout. Although commercials aren't an option for us at the high school level, many other forms of promotion could greatly increase our student section attendance for games. In-school announcements could be used to highlight theme nights and half-time events for upcoming games. Social media can also be a great help, not only by more heavily advertising games, but also by continuing to stir the pot with rival school prior to the big game. With these new concepts in place, the average Crazies' attendance could hopefully get back to what it used to be.

With these things stated and the Shamrocks coming to town for our next display, I sure hope we can return to form and not embarrass ourselves under the brightest lights of the season.