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Sports Environments: Positive vs. Negative?

Alliance student section (The Dawg Pound) cheers on their boys basketball team.

Audrey Ridenour

Alliance student section (The Dawg Pound) cheers on their boys basketball team.

McKenna Romick, Staff Writer

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Most athletes thrive on the intensity of the crowd around them. As athletes spend hours upon hours practicing in a gym that they practically call home, they wish for nothing more than to see those bleachers packed full of glossy eyes ready for a show. Generations after generations fill the seats, from visitors to hometown fans; the closer the rival school, the bigger the crowd.

Class B in the Panhandle of Nebraska consists of McCook, Scottsbluff, Sidney, Gering, and Alliance, all teams with amazing potential and hard-working athletes.It seems like the closer the schools are in distance, the closer the rivalry.

Senior Austin Luger stated, “When the schools are only an hour or less than an hour away, I feel like the rivalry is closer because you get more people at each game making a bigger crowd and resulting in more people getting involved.”

The rivalry between the Alliance Bulldogs and the Scottsbluff Bearcats is an ongoing one. Scottsbluff has beat Alliance for many years and has won the district championship multiple times, “setting the bar so high”, said Austin Luger as a response to why so much tension each game they play. On January 6, the Alliance High School gym was packed full of Scottsbluff and Alliance fans. By the end of the game, three police officers were stationed throughout the gym to help keep one high school basketball game from turning into complete chaos. Alliance Public School officials were constantly reminding the Dawg Pound, Alliance High School’s student section, to stay positive and keep our actions appropriate. Yet, as a student, you look across the gym and see parents from both sides having no problem expressing their emotions.

To help remind the students in the stands to stay positive, Alliance High School spent three years building up a club named the Dawg Pound. The Dawg Pound is an organized student section built to teach students how good a school looks with good sportsmanship, and to be the biggest fans for the hard working athletes who deserve so much support from their school. I was given the opportunity to read a sportsmanship announcement before each varsity game and have always been proud as they read off my name to represent good sportsmanship. However, I am disheartened when I look around the gym and see fans, students, and athletes completely ignoring the fact that a sportsmanship announcement was even read.

Going forward, the challenge is how do we go from just wanting a positive environment to creating one? One that is still intense for the athletes to thrive off of and for the students to enjoy cheering for. Why is it so hard to only be positive for your team and keep the negative emotions off the court? As a senior with lots of experience with sports, an athlete myself, and a leader in the Dawg Pound, sportsmanship is important to me. Is it important to you?

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