Opinion: To cheer or not to cheer while watching sports

I went to both men’s soccer games this weekend. Sitting on those smooth concrete stands that rest mere feet from the field and observing our team annihilate various challengers from across the country is truly one of my favorite things to do here at Trinity. I love soccer, and watching these phenomenal athletes play the game I cherish is something special.

I don’t care if it’s so hot outside that my skin may very well be melting because I can just sit and analyze how our team is playing or observe one player and how they work on and off the ball.

While I may be in the minority when it comes to my obsession with soccer, I know that everyone loves watching an exciting game where both teams are highly ranked, evenly matched and create a true toss-up as to who will come out on top.

That was exactly what the games this weekend were for the men’s and women’s teams. Both teams came out of the weekend with a win and a draw. The women tied Pacific Lutheran University in double overtime (0–0) and beat the University of Puget Sound 1–0, while the men defeated Rutgers University-Newark 3–1 and tied the University of Chicago in a nail-biting 3–3 draw that went into double overtime.

During these games, I like to just watch for the first 20 minutes or so and then really lay into the other team, generally picking one player and letting him have it. I’m not saying all heckling is good, but I’d say 90 percent of it is good. I believe it is a duty as a spectator and a fan.

Of course there are certain things that are unacceptable to shout at the other team, but informing one of the opposing teams defenders his haircut makes him look like a paintbrush is entirely within bounds.

While it would be a problem if I was just some lone, obnoxious soccer dad screaming at a game (which I may very well be), when it’s a mass of fans all cheering and jeering, it’s quite a uniting force.

This fact couldn’t have been more evident than when the Trinity men’s team faced the No. 3 team in the nation, the University of Chicago Maroons. This team made it to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament last year and are a title-winning favorite. At the time of playing, Trinity was ranked No. 17 in the country, so the odds, according to numbers, were quite skewed in the direction of the visiting Maroons.

When the game kicked off, it became glaringly evident this was a team to be respected. The way they moved the ball, won seemingly every 50–50 challenge and dominated the game in every fashion made it clear that Trinity had a big beast to battle.

The Maroons scored two early goals and found Trinity in the strange position of being down. Hope seemed lost, yet the entire time, the boys on the field worked out a way to beat their opponents, while fans in the stands did their best to heckle the Maroons out of the game.

With the aid of a solid student and parent turnout, including the booming voices of the Trinity football team, the Maroons were gifted the ruckus and ever-present cheers of the Trinity faithful. The Tigers rallied from 3–1 down to tie the game up 3–3 and push through the double overtime to a respectable and well-earned draw.

These types of games are rare, at least where I come from — Albuquerque, New Mexico for anyone who’s curious. At most games, regardless of sport, a turnout like the ones on Friday and Sunday night would be as rare as DC Studios making a good Superman movie: It just doesn’t happen.

But for nearly all of the Trinity soccer games I’ve been to, these energetic crowds are a common thing. They help, in a specific way, win the game. They get in the heads of whoever dares step foot on Trinity’s hallowed grounds and make sure to lift our players in white and maroon as they smash and dash their way to victory.

It’s an experience I will cherish when my time at Trinity ends, and I hope this little snippet of what it’s like can entice just a couple people to the games. I guarantee, you won’t be disappointed.