Sports are incredible displays of physical prowess where athletes pit their techniques and abilities against each other in order to come out on top. But beyond the physical skills, the mental fortitude of these individuals often become as one of the prominent make-or-break aspects of the match—in part a matter of self-discipline and in part influenced by extrinsic factors, like the onlooking crowd.
Fans and supporters can play major roles by either encouraging or disrupting the players’ mentality; the overpowering voices of cheering spectators in the stands are enough to give a team a burst of life or zap the energy from the opposition, becoming that extra factor that could help tilt the game in one side’s favor.
High stakes atmosphere
Seeing an entire community come out to support the squads in their games could offer an additional boost that the players need to perform at their peak, with many athletes often referring to the fans as an extra player on the team. Especially in big, decisive games with season implications on the line, the collective energy unleashed by hundreds of fans in the stands is unparalleled.
After ending the opening round of the UAAP Season 82 basketball tournament with a statement win against UST, the Green Archers headed into the second round of play with an air of positivity. Adding to that, they convincingly triumphed against NU, playing a near perfect game to beat their crestfallen opponents. After their emphatic victory, the Taft-based squad was then greeted with a standing ovation from the La Salle supporters in the arena during the singing of the Alma Mater hymn.
When asked about the reaction of the crowd, Brandon Bates recounts feeling ecstatic about fans displaying their school spirit. “That’s what we play for—we play for the Lasallian fans and we play for the school. So when they appreciate us playing like that, it feels great; it propels us and [gives] us momentum,” he discloses.
Facing one’s archrivals brings a different class of intensity in each player’s mindset—especially in a finals series where the stakes have been raised higher.
Describing last season’s men’s football championship match against the ADMU Blue Eagles as “fun and exciting”, Green Booter Manu Cruel credits the huge audience for showing up to witness that game live, “The atmosphere was fantastic. The amount of people that came out to support us [and Ateneo] was immense. It was honestly the biggest game of my life as a footballer.”
Green Batter Ignacio Escaño shares similar sentiments regarding the intensity of the crowd during their finals matchup against ADMU for the Season 81 Baseball crown. “It’s hard to find the words to describe [the] atmosphere—it was crazy. It was super loud from start to finish. Our crowd even had a megaphone!”
Nothing but gratitude
When the pressure mounts, it is the athletes’ duty to give their best, showcasing the fervent Animo spirit expected of being representatives of the Green-and-White. While, the supporters are just as invigorated as they continue to rally behind their team.
Knowing that she has done her part in training and performing in Poomsae events for the De La Salle Taekwondo Team, Lady Jin captain Angelica Gaw recognizes that a big part of her and the team’s success is rooted in the unwavering support coming from different members of the Lasallian community. “I am grateful for the support that we’re getting—especially from the Office of Sports and Development because they always support us on and off-season. [I am also thankful] to the Animo Squad [as] they are the ones who cheer for us during our games. I’m really grateful for the people who are always out there to support us,” she acknowledges.
It is a breath of fresh air when one gets support for a certain goal, especially so for sports teams during a convincing victory or a graceful loss. The culture of sports is a beauty unrivaled, founded on the athletes’ skills and competitive ability, but never complete without the fans that bolster the players through thick and thin.
“Sobrang saya at [nagpasasalamat ako] dahil hindi sila (the Lasallian community) nagsasawa na suportahan kami sa bawat laro namin,” Lady Batters team captain Chinny Ejar expresses. “Nagkakaroon kami ng lakas ng loob at motivation dahil pinapakita nila sa amin kung gaano nila kami kamahal bilang athlete ng DLSU…Buo ang aming loob upang lumaban at maglaro hanggang dulo para sa kanila at lalo na [para] sa school.”
(I am very happy and thankful because the Lasallian community never gets tired of supporting us in every game we play. They show how much they love us as athletes of DLSU, which gives us confidence, inner strength, and motivation. Our hearts always feel full as we compete and push ourselves until the end for the sake of the fans and more so for our school.)