It probably has not taken long for anyone who reads my writing to know I prefer basketball to football. And yes, I know football season is still kicking with some major games but with the season starting on the hardwood this week, I thought it would be a good time to encourage all high school fans to continue your support for local teams throughout the winter.
I have been in basketball mode for a few weeks now after the NBA tipped off its season in October but the high school season officially kicked off Tuesday when Tallassee hosted Elmore County. There are plenty of reasons for Tiger fans to be excited about the product on the court but it takes more than a few likes on social media or making sure you go to your one token game to show you were there.
Most basketball gyms are going to be filled to the brim by a quarter of the crowd that shows up for a football game. And the beautiful thing about basketball is being in controlled weather and never having to deal with rain or freezing temperatures when watching the sport.
I have talked before about how much a student section can change the entire atmosphere of a basketball game and while I still always encourage as many students as possible to show up and stand the whole time, I will not harp on that anymore. I will say regardless of how many students are in the stands, the community needs to do a better job of supporting basketball programs than I have seen in the past.
It is great to see parents and other family members in the stands for games but it is actually kind of sad to see a big gym mostly empty because the only home fans that bothered showing up were 20 parents and some school administrators.
Sure, the debate between what has to come first — the team’s success or the crowd size — will rage on in every sport but I guarantee seeing your team lose a basketball game can still be a lot of fun. I have gone through plenty of losses as an Alabama fan and a 76ers fan, even dating back to my time in high school when I watched Pelham lose to some bad teams. And I loved it.
The atmosphere, the intensity and the intimacy of a good crowd in a gym cannot be matched by another sporting event.
Whether you are Class 6A, AISA or anything in between, get out and support some of the local high school teams because the more energy surrounding a program, the brighter its future will become. And if you are in a gym with 50 people, have some fun with it. Make other people want to be there then bring them along for the next game.
Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for The Tribune.