Sports Crowds at O’Dowd

Analysis of the impact of sport popularity on game crowds


Lamya Harrell, Contributor

Bishop O’Dowd sports have been a big part of high school since before anyone could remember. Faculty and students do everything they can to get each sports team the representation and support they need and deserve, but that can only go so far. The student body is truly what plays the biggest role. The O’Dowd student section can clearly be seen as larger for certain sports teams and not as large for others. Have we ever asked ourselves why this is? Is the amount of support a team at O’Dowd gets truly about the success rate of the team or the popularity of the sport itself?

This fall, the football team’s record has not been the best compared to past teams, yet home and away games often sell out quickly. Lines wrap around the building to get a ticket to Friday’s game, even though few expect it to be a win. Water polo, on the other hand, is extremely successful week after week, but barely any students attend their events. When asked which teams, in particular, are more popular than others, athletes Olivia Myers ’23 and Deji Ajose ’25 both stated: “football, basketball, and women’s volleyball.”

Next, the men’s teams, with the exception of volleyball, bring in the largest crowds. Why is this the case? Every team on campus deserves support, so why does the student body only give it in some areas? Myers comments, “some sports are off campus, I don’t want to drive all the way over there, football is on campus, people are already here during the school day so it’s easy for people to just walk down and watch the game.” As well, Grace Oakley ’23 shares, “it is apart of the high school experience to watch football games, even though our team is not the best.” The idea of “Friday Night Lights” has always been glamorized in movies, so this can play a pivotal role in why students show up weekly. Oakley continues, “it is more of a social outing than anything.”

But how does this affect the team itself? Do they become discouraged by the lack of a crowd, or are they unfazed? Dean Donahue, coach of the women’s basketball varsity team, remarks, “At the end of the day, we’re here to win. The amount of people in the stands shouldn’t change how we play.” Every team wants to win more than they want a friend in the crowd to cheer them on, but many would argue that it would be nice to have both.