Are Fans Effective?


September 22, 2000

There have been many times after games when a family member or a friend has asked me if players really hear the fans when they are cheering. That is a pretty simple question and I do not hesitate to say that yes, fans play a major role in the game.

I have heard players say that they can't hear the fans when they are playing, but I am going to have to disagree. Let me tell you, when 90,000 people are cheering and screaming you can barely hear yourself think! It is an unbelievable feeling when you're in the Rose Bowl and the fans are going wild. There is this rush of energy that comes through your body because you know that all these people are watching you play.

This past week the fans played a major role in our victory over Michigan - THANK YOU! Just like the players, the fans seemed to sense that we were not going to lose that game, and thus throughout the game, the fans were clearly "in it to win it." In a game, there are going to be times when things don't go your way, and it is in these crucial times that the fans can have the most impact. For example, if someone on our team fumbles the ball, and the other team recovers (what we call a "sudden change", when either the offense turns the ball over or the defense has caused a turnover), these are times when the momentum pendulum begins to swing. The way the fans can play a role is when the pendulum starts to swing in an opponent's favor, they begin to cheer louder than they ever have. It's vice versa when things are going the Bruins' way because the fans cheer louder, and it keeps the pendulum on our side.

What a lot of people don't know is that the game is full of momentum shifts, either positive or negative, and for a team to play well they need a lot of positive shifts. I would say that the majority of the times when good shifts take place, the fans are the ones that start it. That's why they call fans at home games "the 12th man". When they are on our side cheering, no matter what the situation, they give the home team an advantage because the momentum pendulum never swings that far in the opponent's favor. This year's fans play a integral part in the success of our team because the more energy they create, the more energy we as players can feel.

Oh, I almost forgot - the players on the team thought it would be a good idea if the fans could start the "wave" in the stands. Maybe we could get one started against Arizona State in two weeks?

Philosophy of the week: Matthew 16:26 "How do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?"