Before the football season began back in August, I wrote about the state of the student fan in McKinney. I criticized the student body of being non-factors in the game and chastised their desire to converse by the concession stand rather than watch the actual game. After watching five weeks of home games at Ron Poe Stadium with all three schools having hosted at least one game, I just have one thing to say to the high school students in McKinney:
I am sorry.
I can honestly say that I didn’t think that you guys had it in you, but sure enough you have proved me wrong. While all three schools have different atmospheres before, during, and after the game, they have all proven this season that yelling obnoxiously and being into the game from start to finish can actually have a positive impact on your football team’s performance.
For example, Boyd is by far the biggest school in the city and has the largest student body. In the Broncos' most recent home game versus Rockwall, the crowd of a couple hundred students were all donning their red or blue t-shirts and gathering around the student section well before kickoff.
For North, despite two home losses to quality opponents, the Bulldog faithful have been loud and into the game regardless of what the scoreboard says. Their rally group on the sidelines, dressed in paint-spattered overalls and bright orange T-shirts, do their best to keep both students and parents focused on the game and do a fine job of keeping the energy level up in the stands.
Lastly, MHS has probably seen the oddest transition of their student fan base, which is fitting considering the transition they have had in the win/loss department from last year to this year. As one MHS student told me at the game last week versus Denton Ryan, she has seen seniors show up for games who haven’t attended a single one in their four years at the school. Plus, with last year’s team coming so close to earning a victory in several games, she remembered fans screaming and yelling to the very end because they all just wanted the Lions to have one win next to their name.
This year, with the team 4-1 and tied for second place in District 10-5A with Allen, she has actually seen several fans lose interest by the third quarter. Not because they don’t care about the team, but because the Lions have blown out several opponents that by halftime the game has already been decided. Talk about a change of mentality in a matter of 12 months.
I am a strong believer in the home-field advantage and what it can do for any team, regardless of what certain studies might indicate otherwise. As a former athlete for a large portion of my life, I can tell you there is not a better feeling than looking around the stands and seeing you peers and friends cheering you on and emotionally invested in the outcome of the game.
As district play will officially begin next week for Boyd and MHS, and as North looks for its first district win at home versus Royse City on Friday night, I hope that the yells only get louder and more obnoxious. I hope that Allen and Plano East and Denison leave Ron Poe Stadium wishing that it hadn’t spent the past three hours in the stadium dealing with you. Regardless of Texas A&M’s record every season, opponents still hate going into College Station and go through extravagant measures to prepare for the atmosphere, all because it is an intimidating place to play football and it is all because of those crazy fans.
So students, continue to make Ron Poe Stadium uncomfortable for opponents to go into. Regardless of whether you represent the orange, red, or yellow, as the student body you have the ability to make the atmosphere anything you want it to be on Friday night’s.
Go make it hell for the other team, what do you say?