Greene: The Tribe Needs You in the Student Section


Noreen Chung

Only a smattering of students attended the Nonnewaug-Thomaston boys basketball game earlier this season.

Andrew Greene, Sports Reporter

WOODBURY — When you envision a high school athletic event, you envision packed stands, cheering crowds of students, and energy at every play. But in the past few years — and especially this year — Nonnewaug has lacked the school spirit which has defined us in the past.

Nonnewaug students need to wake up. 

Before Covid-19 struck in March 2020, school spirit was at a peak. Jackson Baker, a 2020 Nonnewaug graduate who played three sports, remembers his senior year as the best of his four years.

“My first two years, there was definitely a presence in the student sections,” Baker says, “but my junior and senior year, it really started to pick up and there was a lot of school spirit.”

Before the start of the pandemic, fans were noticeable everywhere, at every event, and being a part of a Nonnewaug sports team felt special.

Now, things feel different. Students mostly come only for the one big game, and teams are left with only parents in the stands at all other events.

Time moves faster than you realize — it’s a cliché with levels of truth. Eventually, you leave high school, and regret your lack of involvement, because your opportunity to do these things is now, and it will not come back.

Dylan Chung shoots a free throw during Nonnewaug’s red-out basketball game against Shepaug on Feb. 10. That game is circled on many students’ calendar each year, but Andrew Greene argues that students need to support the Chiefs way more often. (Noreen Chung)

“I remember packed stands my freshman year, even at soccer games,” says senior Brett Davino. “Even in conditions below freezing, we had students filling the stands for our state games. It’s just not the same anymore; we can’t even fill a quarter of the student section at a home boys’ basketball game.”

“When I first started [coaching], and even more recently about four or five years ago, the student section was packed at many home games,” says Toby Denman, a biology teacher who is the head coach of the boys soccer team and JV coach for girls basketball. “It seems that interest in coming to games has waned a bit.”

And the truth is that the large crowds are what makes being a fan enjoyable. Consequently, as numbers decline, enjoyment for those who still come increasingly diminishes. Hence, numbers continue to fall, and this cycle continues.

It only takes a few. If even a mere 15 to 20 students more out of our school’s 700 could make the decision, there would be a drastic change in the atmosphere. There is strength in numbers, and the larger the student section, the better the energy becomes, and there is an increased level of confidence within players knowing they have this filled section standing behind them.

“There was nothing better than making a shot and hearing the student section erupt,” says Baker. “The confidence it gives you as a player is unmatched.”

Nonnewaug students as a whole need to start to change. And it starts one by one.

Although some teams may not win championships this year, an influx of fans would surely help their efforts at home games. 

“I just want people to start coming to more events,” says Davino. “It’s my senior year, and the school spirit has been the worst out of all four years I’ve been here.”

The enjoyment of many, including myself ,has diminished, and with less than four months in the school year left, something needs to be a catalyst for a change in the attitude of our school.

This is the opinion of Chief Advocate sports reporter Andrew Greene.