Experience and Advantage: Fans in College Sports

Attend a game at Penn State’s Beaver Stadium if you can, but if not, find an excuse to make your way to a major football field near you next season and watch a game.   If football isn’t your thing, you’re in luck, because there are plenty of other opportunities to attend Penn State sporting events before next year!

Penn State whiteout at Beaver Stadium
Photo courtesy: Penn State University Relations

Why attend an event?  Because, believe it or not, your presence there (and the noise you make) can help the team win.

“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”  The great coach Vince Lombardi, who was so successful that the Super Bowl trophy is named after him, uttered this quote (amongst many other gems).

What he is describing is the reason some people get up every day, and football truly illustrates the effect that several people with the same goal in mind can have.  When all eleven players on the football field do their job (and better than the opposition), the results are self-evident, and prolific.

This same mentality applies to more people than just the players though; the fans operate in the same sort of capacity as a team, albeit with different goals.  While the team on the field is trying to score (or prevent) a touchdown, the team in the stands is there to support the goal of the team on the field, and the way they do so is an entirely unique endeavor in and of itself, and in fact may directly influence the outcome of the game.

In Seattle, Seahawks fans set the Guinness World Record for noise recorded at a stadium with a  decibel level of 136.6, a feat that requires a concerted effort by all present and that provides a distinct advantage to the Seahawks players.

Seattle is well-known for being a difficult place to play in because of this noise, and the home field advantage it represents, but it could not be accomplished without the direct involvement of the fans.

Penn State fans have a well-deserved reputation for noise as well, and I can tell you from personal experience while attending numerous sporting events over years (and at many different schools) that being a part of a home crowd is an experience unlike any other.

This is the reason there are more teams involved in team sports than just the ones playing the game.  The second team, the one in the stands, contributes enormously to the success of the team they are watching, and benefits from their support.

Matt Huston writes that the results of the game can have long-lasting effects on the local economy by stimulating spending after a big win. He quotes psychologist Sandy Wolfson, who notes that the home field advantage stems entirely from the support of the home crowd, who also let themselves off the hook after a big loss (they know that while their support is important, they are ultimately not responsible for the performance of the team).

Again, I implore you:  attend a Penn State sporting event if you can, and if you can’t, attend a major sporting event near you for a team you support.  It’s an experience that cannot be duplicated.  While you do it, live the experience.  Be it.  Maybe you can even be your team’s winning advantage.