From loud, ear-splitting stadiums to pin-dropping silence. The absence of fans this past year has been an unusual transition. Most athletes accustomed to the roaring fans say they get them fueled and going. Competing in an empty, cavernous stadium can be tough for players, but quarentining has become a concept in the day to day life of an athlete.
Currently, the majority of sports teams quarantine and travel together, with no interaction with the outside world until after their games. This way they keep Covid-19 from spreading and infecting not only the team and coaches, but also their families.
The feeling of isolation and low adrenalin is real, and sports leagues understand that. The stadium for the 2021 Super Bowl wasn’t filled with people — cardboard cutouts of dogs and fake fans sat in the stands to imitate a big crowd. The speakers were used to mimic the sound of fans roaring.
Ghost games have a significant effect on Falcon athletes as well. Nation Ford athletics have been weathering a unique year of events, cancelations, quarantine periods, and a loss of crowd excitement.
Nation Ford sports continue to set a limitation on how many fans can attend games. Tickets are sold online prior to the events to keep track of how many fans go to the games. Sports earn a lot of profit from fans in stadiums. Like the NBA and Major League Baseball, professional sports have been losing revenue without fans.
The revenue shortfall, league-wide, is close to $3 billion, according to Sportsnaut. Nation Ford sports gain money from the fans in stadiums and concessions to be able to go on trips, buy uniforms, etc, and afford transportation and equipment. For many teams, it’s hard to get back from the loss of revenue. Nation Ford sports are doing fundraisers to raise back the money that they did not gain during the pandemic.
There are a lot of questions still about when it’s safe to have fans in stadiums, when it’s safe for players to travel across the country, and when things can go back to normal.
As Nation Ford transitioned back into a 5 day school week, Covid protocols stayed in place for sports. It’s hard to predict as the pandemic strengthens across the world.
Nation Ford’s stadium used to be full of students and parents, cheering players on. This past season, football had a minimum amount of fan entrees, and masks were required. The energy level was not the same, and this has had an effect on the players. Social distancing was needed, though, social distancing was not enforced. Many sports have lost their seasons due to Covid outbreaks from another team, or long periods of quarantine due to exposure. A couple of players have been interviewed from the soccer team as their season begins. A player, Kaiden Bridges (‘22), on Varsity Women’s Soccer was asked how she was affected by Ghost games?
“I definitely feel that it makes the gameplay different because as a player I enjoy having fans in the stands. It adds an element of excitement almost, because you hear the crowds cheering.” Kaiden shares her feelings towards ghost games and how it has changed the outlook on the game. Kaiden was also asked what some of the protocols the team takes regarding Covid-19?
“Basically we have to separate our bags at practice…during games we have to sit 3 to a bench.” Kaiden explains, “If someone does test positive on our team, we’re able to adhere to Covid protocols correctly and make sure our whole team doesn’t get quarantined. We also have to wear masks during practice.”
The girs’ soccer team, along with other teams, are required to follow Covid-19 protocols during their season.