SGA-paid basketball games results in greater audience turnout for triple-header game


emily maron

Monticello Maniacs turnout was also large for the Dec. 16th home game against the Falls Church Jaguars.

Ashley Huang

The freshman, junior varsity, and varsity boys basketball teams played against the Marshall High statesmen in a home game on Thursday, Jan. 19th. The Student Government (SGA) had paid for free admission to all home games this season, and turnout was large that day. Before the holiday break, SGA treasurer Sherry Xie met with Activities Director Mr. Rusty Hodges to organize a lump sum that would be paid to the TJ Athletic Department. This lump sum covered the costs for all home games of winter sports throughout the entire season.


“If you talk to people from 2017 or even 2016, they’ll often tell you about how some aspects of TJ culture have been lost over the years,” Xie said. “Recently, we’ve seen students feel increasingly stressed over tests and GPA, which can be really harmful in terms of mental and physical health. Thus, especially right before breaks or weekends, we want to encourage people to de-stress and enjoy a game with their friends.”


The basketball team players have also noticed the increased Monticello Maniac turnout at SGA-paid games.


“If SGA paid for it, that means students are going to come because it’s free for them.” freshman boys basketball player Rohan Kalra said. “And obviously a bigger crowd is going to pump up the players… definitely better compared to a normal game when there are a few people watching.”


Not only will a larger crowd excite the atmosphere of the game,  it can also improve game performance.


“[SGA paid games] are great because the cheering organized by our Monticello Maniacs bring spirit to our basketball team, which can make the difference in a close game,” varsity boys basketball player Tim Cho said. “I believe our basketball team plays better, and with more energy when we have an exciting crowd.”


However, the size of the audience isn’t the only factor affecting the Colonials’ performance. The game also depends on preparation and situation.  


“Preparation includes physical, mental, and team training,” Cho said. “While situation includes day-to-day focus, energy, and determination.”


In addition to that,  a player’s focus during the actual game can drastically affect performance.


“There are a few [factors affecting game performance]. Practice… [and a] player’s focus during a game can affect game performance.” Kalra said. “Whether it be academic stress, family stress, or just pressure from the people watching you, you need to remember to perform the task at hand and not let anything else distract you.”


Nonetheless, many Monticello Maniacs believe a full bleacher has the potential to exhilarate the basketball players best.


“…The atmosphere of a [large audience] cheering loudly is great to see, and it’s always nice to have a high turnout of students supporting our incredibly hard working athletes.” Xie said. “My hope is that [when we] pay for students to get in free, [it] encourages more people to stay after for the games, even if they can’t stay the entire time, and would otherwise have considered dropping in not worth the money.”


Even during the triple header on Jan. 16, Kalra noticed the incredible effect high audience turnout had on the game.

“The Maniacs’ cheering definitely gets our players confident, and it impacts our performance for the better,” Kalra said. “And sometimes, when the Maniacs shout out at the other team or sing nursery rhymes when the other team is shooting free throws, it impacts them as well, and they may crack under the pressure. I remember during the varsity game [on Jan. 19th], the whole student section was singing during the other team’s free throws. The player ended up missing both shots.”


A large positive response has followed SGA’s move to sponsor winter games. From improved game performance to a cheery school atmosphere, the SGA have received requests from non athletes to sponsor select spring games as well. From this response, Xie believes both teams and Monticello Maniacs appreciate having a student section to cheer them on.


“I’m extremely passionate about working to improve some of the many cultural concerns TJ faces right now, and I hope that these sports game subsidies can be a step towards fixing some of the disillusionment students experience with other aspects of TJ.” Xie said.