So You Want More School Spirit? Hold a Volleyball Tournament.

James Flink, Journalist

Over my four years at Ludlowe, attendance at sporting events has been rather poor. I mean no disrespect when I say this. Recently, the Nest leaders have done a great job making sure people are willing to part with a few bucks to cheer with friends and support their classmates atvarious games. I, myself, have gone to five times as many games this year as I did over my first three years as a Falcon. Considering I’d only been to one game prior to this year, that isn’t saying much, but it’s better than nothing. With Ludlowe’s lack of school-spirit, I was somewhat surprised when the gym was absolutely jammed this past Friday for the championship games of the annual senior volleyball tournament. Bleachers on both sides of the large gym were overflowing to the point that at least a hundred students and faculty had to watch while sitting on the floor. Yes, one can make the point that we were at school anyway, so naturally, anyone permitted to watch the final games would gladly escape the boredom of class to do so. It’s hard to argue with that, but at the same time, I can’t say I’ve ever heard the gym louder in my life.

People were screaming, clapping, and trash-talking (or at least I was doing the latter); they got really into it. For reference, in terms of interest, I’d say this event was only rivaled by the Prep-Ludlowe football game last September. But again, I haven’t been to many games so who am I to make this assertion? Anyway, how could a friendly volleyball tournament bring out so many people when varsity games can’t? How can interest in a championship where those victorious get t-shirts, rival a championship in which those victorious get medals and rings? I think the answer to these questions lies in the fact that us students were in that tournament. We were beaten by Markus’s spikes and Margaret’s passes. When I go to a Ludlowe basketball game, I don’t know what it’s like to be out there. I can’t see what those players are seeing. But when I was watching the volleyball championship, I could put myself on the court. I could see the ball hurtling at my face and feel the leather against my skin. Although I wasn’t playing, I could still play. I could still think: I would have spiked that, I would have set it to him, or I would have missed that. And so, I loved watching those final games. In all honesty, if that was happening every Friday night, I’d never miss a game.

It’s one thing to have a school with poor athletics, but it’s another to have a fanbase that doesn’t feel invested in the games it’s supporting. Ludlowe has strong athletics, but I don’t feel like I’ve “added any twigs to the nest.” Maybe that’s my fault, and I’m speaking only for myself, but I know there are other sport-lovers at FLHS who’ve been to fewer games than me. With only five months left of high school, I can’t do much to change the sports culture at Ludlowe, but the recent volleyball tournament seems to hold an answer for those who have enough time left as falcons to make the changes we need.