Oh, August. It has always been a student's least anticipated summer month, because suddenly that countdown to the first day of school ticks closer. But while many do not look forward to the eighth month, high school athletes all over the city of McKinney cannot wait for school to be back in session, particularly the football, volleyball, and cross country players.
I never played any of the fall sports (I am still bitter about not making the volleyball team), but as a former McKinney Boyd student, I loved going to Friday night football games and attending any sporting event that I could. I loved the atmosphere of Ron Poe Stadium and the sense of anticipation that was in the air in the hours leading up to the game. I loved how the students would begin gathering in the student section, with everyone continuing to stand up regardless of what was going on before the game. I loved how we would all raise our hands high in the air while holding the Bronco symbol with our fingers, as if we were no longer a group of kids but just one big voice.
What I hated was how the mood and the passion disappeared without a whimper. I hated how students would go towards the concession stands and talk amongst themselves, completely oblivious to what was going on in the game. I hated how the perception to the opposing team's fans was that we didn’t care about our team at all. It didn’t seem right.
The first home game for any MISD high school is this Friday night, when McKinney Boyd hosts Mesquite Horn at Ron Poe Stadium. I will be attending and covering the game, and while I anticipate a pretty big crowd from the city’s largest high school, I also expect to see a huge conglomerate of students gathering around the concession stands halfway through the first quarter.
I can understand if you're a freshman or sophomore, and this is one of the few activities where you can be around your friends since you don’t have a license yet. I admit that I was one of those kids my first couple of years. But once you hit your junior and senior years, the pride in your school increases exponentially. You can talk crap about your school all you want to, but no one outside of this campus better say one bad word about us or they are in trouble. That was the mentality that myself and a large majority of my senior class had.
While we didn’t have the greatest football team my last year at Boyd, I always enjoyed being in the stands and watching the games. I was friends with a lot of kids who were going to Alabama, Texas, Texas A&M, and a few other colleges with rich college football traditions. While I was not joining them on that path, we would talk all the time about how incredible some of those environments are like and how the student bodies really seem to be influential in the outcome of the game. And while I didn’t expect for my fellow Broncos to be so loud that we would cause the opponent to false start seven times a game, I felt like we should at least make enough noise that we could be louder than the parent’s section.
This kind of activity from students at football games will likely never change, but I hope that if you are a Bronco, Lion, or Bulldog, that you decide to attend the games this fall and be active members of the student section. Yell your butt off when the other team’s offense is on the field. When the other team has a 3rd-and-1 at your own 10-yard line, scream so loud that your voice disappears the next morning. It may seem ridiculous to those who have never played sports, but these athletes thrive on crowd support and can rise to levels they never imagined if they feel like they have a supporting cast of their friends and classmates behind them.
Go out there and change the perception of high school fans in McKinney.