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The Sad Decline of High School Attendance

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I spent many years working as a high school sports writer in the Chicago area. This week, I went out to work and cover a game for the first time in over a year. There are certain things from my many years of covering high school sports that I have come used to. One of those things was a full gym of students, parents and teachers. What I discovered however was an empty gym with no more than 60 or 70 people in it for a game on a Tuesday night. While I understand that it is a weeknight, there are really no excuse for that few people to be in attendance. There are many factors and things to blame for this.

It is obvious to me that kids in high school are more interested in video games or just staying home nowadays instead of going out to support their team. I saw probably ten students sitting around watching the game on Tuesday. The whole band was there however and that is something I didn’t get to see as much in the early years of doing this. They made their noise but there was no screaming, yelling or cheering for the team. It is eerily quiet in the gym itself outside of the band playing. I want students with chants and other noise-making devices but I heard nothing. No organized student sections or anything.

There are sportsmanship announcements made that tell fans that they aren’t allowed to heckle the officials or the other team but that doesn’t mean you should just sit on your hands the whole night though. Make some noise, have some fun, cheer your team on. I heard more noise from the shoes squeaking on the court than I got out of the fans in attendance. I really hope it was just the game I was at because it is scary and sad to me.

There are teachers around just standing there taking tickets or just running security but there aren’t even parents watching their kids in many cases. It could be because both parents have to work to make ends meet or they simply don’t want to come out in the cold to watch a game and spend $3 to see their child play. This has to stop. People need to realize that these players deserve better than this. High school basketball is the purest form of the sport and if we as a society can’t even make the effort to come out to see a simple game on a Tuesday night, then something is really wrong with how things are going these days.

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