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The Return of Fans in the Stands Can Add a Morale Boost to Athletes

By Andrew Smith

Over the past year we have seen empty classrooms, offices and stadiums. Medical professionals advised us to stay in our homes in the wake of a global pandemic. The world began adopting virtual options to attend work, school or even “visit” family and friends. The Adelphi sports world was also put on an indefinite pause as well. Many sports teams were unable to hold team practices and conduct live events. Even when student athletes returned to organized sports on campus, there was a major component of the sporting experience missing; fans in the stands.

In the past year, empty stands have played a detrimental role at Adelphi. Coaches and student athletes believe empty stands hurt the morale of our athletic teams. There was not the same energy that existed in the game with filled stands.

Women’s soccer coach Brooke DeRosa said, “Fans gave us an extra boost of motivation for each game, which we may have lacked last year. Fans complete the sporting event experience and so much of the home field advantage comes down to the fan base in the stands.”

This picture shows how supportive the Adelphi Family is. Adelphi athletes thrive with their peers and parents cheering them on. (Picture 1 from Panther Club Webpage)

Bill Ianniciello, head coach of the baseball team said that the inclusion of fans began during the team’s division playoff-qualifying run. “It made a big difference in the dynamic at our games. It was certainly a substantial boost to team morale and the energy level at the field.”

The Adelphi community provided the baseball team with a much-needed morale boost and brought a great amount of intensity to the game during these troubling times.

As conditions improved last spring, student athletes were filled with excitement to see their fellow peers in the stands. Jessica Petry, a member of the women’s soccer team, described the moment she heard that fans would return as “a sense of relief.” “As soon as the men’s soccer team showed up and got the stands loud, our momentum during the game changed tremendously.”

This picture shows the Adelphi community cheering on their fellow peers. (Picture 2 from @AUPanthers)

Jack Ryan, catcher for the baseball team also expressed his feelings regarding playing in an empty stadium the past year. “It was certainly odd looking behind home plate when I was catching and seeing no one behind me in the stands. No loud cheers when we would get big hits or make a big play.”

Student athletes are excited for their upcoming seasons due to the announcement of fans being allowed to attend. Petry said, “In my opinion, having family and friends in the stands are just as important as having us players on the field because without them we would not be at the level that we are at. The atmosphere has taken a turn for the better and we truly cannot wait to get the season started.”

Ryan said, “The mood of the team is certainly different going into this season. Having fans, especially at your home field, can be a huge advantage and with the energy our home fans bring, playing at our field with fans is a lot of fun.”

Fans in the stands are vital to the collegiate and professional sports world. Adelphi Athletics thrives on a field supported by a community consisting of students, faculty, staff and parents. Come join Adelphi athletes by cheering and supporting them at every game.

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