Horace Mann's Weekly Newspaper Since 1903

The Record

The advantages of playing on home turf

Jeren Wei and Griffin Smith

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For many athletes, competing in home games is an integral part of being on a sports team; the support of their peers gives athletes the motivation and encouragement necessary to win. Many athletes believe that playing on school grounds gives them a “home advantage.”

Jane Frankel (12), Girls Varsity Soccer’s senior goalie, believes in the perks of home advantage. “Home advantage is definitely real. We feel most comfortable at HM and therefore get a natural boost of confidence,” she said.

“The difference between playing at home versus away is definitely the atmosphere and the energy that you get from the people watching,” starting setter on the Girls Volleyball Team, Kyra Kwok (11) said.

Homecoming ignites teams with a sense of pride and provides an encouraging atmosphere, so teams feel a stronger drive to win. “Playing at Homecoming translates into awesome energy. The excitement of the crowd is palpable and motivating,” said Honor McCarthy (12) said.

Although the Sea Lions may benefit from more attendance and attention overall, Homecoming usually has a strong turnout, McCarthy said. Water Polo is an “easy game to understand and fun to watch,” she said.

Joshua Doolan (12), one of the captains of the Boys Varsity Cross Country, encourages student support at cross country meets.  “In cross country, the biggest thing that can pull you ahead is someone yelling your name or yelling ‘go Horace Mann,’” he said.  While there was no Homecoming meet during his first two years on the team, there is one this year, and he hopes that students will come and support the team.

Watching home games also sparks pride in spectators. I enjoy watching and supporting my friends while they are playing on the field,” Eunice Bae (11) said.

Spectators provide motivation for athletes “Home games make us appreciate the people who actually are there so much because knowing those people set aside their time to watch us play, no matter how many people there are, having spectators is still extremely special,” Frankel said.

However, some teams do not have their home games held on campus.  Both Boys Varsity and Girls Varsity Cross Country meets are held in Van Cortlandt Park, which makes it difficult for students to attend, Euwan Kim (10) said.  When students do come and support, it is very motivating and helps athletes finish races through the pain, she said.

Similarly, playing home games for the Girls Varsity Tennis team is a challenge, as the tennis courts are currently under renovation. “Not having our courts definitely makes us all sad, especially the seniors who won’t be able to play on our courts at their last homecoming, but we are making it work and still having a lot of fun and doing really well,” Gibby Thomas (11) said.

For some athletes, having spectators for games may cause players to feel anxious during games. “I definitely feel pressure when people watch me, and I get really nervous. When we have home games usually a few parents show up but it’s definitely more fun when other teams or friends come too,” Kwok said.

Although some athletes may be nervous or overwhelmed on the day of Homecoming, many others feel excitement. “I don’t feel very anxious when people watch me,” said Josie Alexander (12), co-captain of Varsity Water Polo team, “home games are so much fun because there are friends and parents cheering for us.”

“Due to Maroon Monsoon and the upcoming pep rally, I expect there to be a huge home field advantage,” Gavin Delanty (11) said. Homecoming creates an atmosphere that pushes athletes to play harder, he said. “There is definitely more pressure at a home game,” said Delanty.  Seeing classmates at games is a huge motivation, and the home field advantage is only amplified at Homecoming because there are so many supporters, he said.

For many athletes, Homecoming and home games are an opportunity to exercise their athletic abilities, while kindling pride and team spirit in their peers. “It’s so amazing to feel support from the crowd,” Julia Roth (11) said.  At home, everyone knows the field and that gives them a step up, she said, but “there’s also an intense pride in HM students, which makes everyone want to play their best at home, especially on Homecoming.”

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Horace Mann's Weekly Newspaper Since 1903
The advantages of playing on home turf