How Effective is a Crowd?


Petelo Tafisi, Writer

Sports are a big deal in the U.S and entertain us a lot. They are something that we as people like watching and continue to watch because it’s part of our culture in the U.S. With that being said, it is even more entertaining to go to whichever sports you like in person and getting the live experience, whether it is basketball, football, baseball, volleyball or other sports that are entertaining to watch. Due to Covid-19, there have been restrictions on the amount of people that can attend games, among other things. Because of how serious the pandemic has become, contact with other people can be dangerous. So far we have figured out a way to keep watching the thing we love but watching sports now doesn’t feel the same, nor does playing the sport. 

A question that has come up because of the audience restrictions is how do these athletes feel about having a crowd full of cardboard boxes, not hearing a crowd cheer you on, not getting that support you’re so used to? How do limited crowds affect athletes and how they play in games now?

Does it feel like a game? How do athletes get that push, that motivation, when all they hear are echoes on the court or field, echoes of sounds that are only created by them? Many athletes feel pressured at some point in the game, but crowds and fans that are there in person have a big impact on how a player can perform psychologically. An audience’s presence can give a team or player the push they need to improve in a game. 

In the Los Angeles Times, they talk about how crowds and fans enthusiastic cheering can give athletes an energizing effect, helping them push to greater skill, speed and strength. But this can also be used in another way where you can get negative energy which can mess with athletes’ heads and will increase the chances of playing badly or a slight decrease in their performance. Having a crowd really impacts sports and the way athletes perform.

How does not having a crowd affect the athletes who are playing sports? Recently I’ve been watching one of the big basketball tournaments in the U.S called march madness and it really had me thinking about how these athletes are playing in front of a bunch of cardboard boxes. Where are the real fans, what are the athletes feeling in the game without a crowd? With a crowd games can get really interesting and tables can turn but without any crowds what has the game turned into. Having fans can have an effect on the player but not having fans at all can be effective as well.

Having fans can give these athletes an adrenaline rush, something that boost athletes perform to their best. As an athlete myself these things, I feel like do boost our performances in games. In the past year because of covid we couldn’t have as many fans which I didn’t think at the time was important. As I played I felt as if the game was only a practice game because of how quiet it was on both sides and when I felt this things started to change. Games felt longer and more of a back and forth game that would never end. A game that felt like practice which didn’t seem right. It was then when I saw how important having a crowd was, how effective cheering could be and how it could boost people in a way.

All these things like home court advantage (which typically means having more fans at the game) to having fans when on the opposing team can be great for both teams. Both sides have big impacts on how athletes react in the game whether it is negative or positive. Crowds impact the athletes so much and bring the game life. Without crowds, sports wouldn’t be as entertaining or as fun to play. Crowds have a big impact on the way athletes perform.