Fans officially return to athletic events

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Photo by Kathlita Hostetler, courtesy of FSC Athletics

Caroline Bryant & Isabelle Hancock

Florida Southern’s athletics department is allowing fans at sporting events with set guidelines and protocols to ensure everyone’s safety as FSC tackles the new semester. 

On Aug. 31, FSC athletics issued a press release announcing information about sports teams having fans cheering them on in the stands this semester and the ticket prices to attend. 

“For all regular season ticketed events, ticket prices for adults are $7, with seniors, students, and military members paying $5. Florida Southern College students with a valid 2021-22 ID card are free of charge, as are all children under the age of 12,” FSC Athletics announced. 

According to the protocols and guidelines, fans must wear masks if they are attending any indoor sporting events held on campus.  For outdoor events, fans are strongly encouraged to wear masks, though it is not mandatory. 

As of now, there are also no social distancing guidelines or restrictions on the number of fans allowed at each game. 

“The fans have an enormous impact on game day,” Victoria Routt, senior goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team said. “It changes the entire energy of the stadium and gives us much more motivation to do well and get the win for our home crowd.” 

Having that atmosphere come from fellow Mocs makes it worthwhile.

“The fans also make game days more fun to be in and it’s amazing to know that so many of our classmates are supporting us in our sport,” Routt said.

The school plans to keep venues clean and safe by sanitizing seats and handrails, as well as providing multiple hand sanitizer stations around each of the venues.

With these protocols set in place, everyone can enjoy attending sporting events while remaining safe. 

“We are very excited to safely welcome back fans, it just hasn’t been the same without them,” Director of Athletics and Dean of Wellness, Drew Howard said. 

After a year break, both the women’s and men’s soccer teams returned to Moccasin field last Thursday, Sept. 2 for their first pre-season games.

 The women’s team defeated Edward Waters University 2-0, while the men tied 0-0 with the University of Alabama in Huntsville. While the teams utilized their time off for extra practice, many players believe the return of their supporters advanced their performance. 

The school’s first athletic game of the season was the FSC vs. SNU men’s soccer game which took place on Monday, Sept. 6 at Moccasin Field. Students, staff, friends and family showed up to cheer on our athletes. 

Soccer athlete, Kyle Carr was feeling a range of emotions about his recent game and having the stands filled. 

“I was a bit more nervous to have a bigger crowd again. We haven’t had a crowd like that in almost 2 years,” Carr said. “But I’m also definitely happy to have fans back and see my family attend the games.” 

Though the Mocs lost 2-1 in overtime, Carr said the fans were definitely impactful because “hearing them cheer us on drives all of us.” 

To fifth year Moc, Henry Phillips, senior outside back for men’s soccer, it doesn’t matter if the fans are from FSC or not. Any sort of cheering fires him up.

“I remember playing our last game against Tampa this previous spring, at Tampa, in front of a packed crowd and the noise was deafening,” Phillips said. “Even though it wasn’t our own fans, just to play in that atmosphere again, just brought back what playing in front of fans was all about and what we had missed.” 

And what was missing was that sense of community.

While we tend to overlook the roars and the “tap tap hiss” of the crowd at any sports event on campus, each game unites everyone together towards two objectives- the love for sport and the love for our school- re-emphasizing a sense of community that was microscopic in 2020. 

“When we score or win it’s not just for us as a team but it’s us representing FSC, all the staff, students, and professors within it,” AJ Pearce, junior goalkeeper, said. “We play for each other and for the school, [so] with fans back it helps make our job that much easier in bringing us all together.”

“Fans can always purchase season tickets by mail or online and/or purchase single-game tickets on game day at each venue,” Howard said.

 

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