The Crowd Impact

Saying the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game was a massacre would be an understatement. With three unanswered touchdowns in a row by the Hoosiers, and then a safety to seal the deal, things were looking very bleak for our football team, and especially for their record of never having lost to Indiana in football. Even though I personally wasn’t at the game, as I sat in the comfort of my friend’s apartment, snacking on homemade nacho dip, I couldn’t help but think that I was somehow responsible for the loss. That even though I am only one student out of over 20,000 attending Penn State, hundreds of miles away from Memorial Stadium, with no tie to how the team performs, I was to blame.

This thought crosses my mind often, the question of how much impact one person really has, whether it is impacting a football game, or a vote, or a contest. As a member of the Blue Band, our job is to pump up the team, the student section, and the rest of Beaver Stadium, no matter the score or the weather. We scream and yell and play our hearts out with the thought that we hold the fate of each play in our hands. I keep the same traditions for every single game, eating the same breakfast, wearing the same clothes, complete with game day button and lucky underwear, and screaming before each defensive play with every ounce of breath I can muster up. I do this in the hopes that the opposing team will hear just a little bit less and that my single voice will have the power to cover up the directions being given by the other team’s quarterback. And all this with the fear that if I don’t, something will go terribly wrong. An interception returned for a touchdown by the opposing team, all because I didn’t do my job.

Some readers may think I am crazy, but I believe we, the crowd, control the outcome of the football game. Home field advantage wasn’t just a made up concept. It can mean the world of a difference in the eyes of a team, especially ours. Imagine how much easier it would be to play with your student body and fans there to cheer you on to victory, opposed to a crowd filled with screaming idiots, constantly heckling you and jeering at your mistakes. That is why the most important job at a football game is held by us. Being the reason that one player may put in one more ounce of energy into one play, potentially changing the game. We may only be on the field in spirit, never leaving an imprint in the grass of Beaver Stadium, but the passion of our voices together will inspire the shoes that do.

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