Spring time is always an exciting time of year across the country. The weather is finally starting to warm up and the flowers are beginning to bloom.
Sports in the spring are also exciting with March Madness and the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament, the Masters, which commences the major tournament season in professional golf and of course, the start of Major League baseball.
At the high school level, spring sports can be chaotic. The majority of large Oklahoma high schools have nine spring sports teams. There is baseball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls golf, boys and girls tennis and boys and girls track.
The biggest difference from spring sports compared to fall and winter sports is that most of the spring sports are played during the day, which makes it difficult to go watch them play.
Boys and girls soccer play most of their matches in the evenings and baseball occasionally will play a night game under the lights but for the most part, spring sports are played in the day light during work and school hours.
As a former baseball player, it was always a struggle having to wait all school year through the fall and winter until we got the chance to showcase our skills on the baseball diamond when the spring finally rolled around.
It was always a disappointing feeling when we would take the field for our games and there were not many spectators in the stands other than our parents, close friends and other family members. There was not a student section or people from the community screaming when we would get a big hit or a big strike out to help us win a game.
There just wasn’t a lot of passion or support from our local community.
I’ve been in sports journalism covering high school sports in Oklahoma and Canadian County for more than five years now and from what I have seen, the lack of support for spring sports wasn’t just at my high school, where I graduated more than 10 years ago, but it is the case in ever high school.
Whether the teams I covered were playing at home or on the road, the stands were not very full. Only when rivalry games, like Yukon vs. Mustang, happened was there a good number of people in the seats but even then it still wasn’t like it was in the fall or in the winter.
Do I expect the same number of fans to come out for a baseball game or a soccer match as a football game? No, I don’t. I understand that football is the king when it comes to high school sports in Oklahoma, but do I think communities should do a better job of supporting spring high school sports? Absolutely, I do.
These young men and women work just as hard as any other athlete in the school and they deserve your support as well. The case could even be made that life is a little more difficult for them because having to wait through the fall and the winter before they get to show their skills in their sport is not an easy thing to do.
I encourage people from the community to get out and get involved with your spring sports teams. Show them that you truly do care and invest in them and who knows what might happen. It could mean they win more games or score more goals to earn them a college scholarship. What I do know is it will mean the world to them to see support from their respective communities and that’s the most important thing.