For college students, nothing signals the arrival of the fall semester and the return to student life like the football season and the opportunity to support their team. On September 18, students at Maryville College were able to immerse themselves in this tradition in a way never before available with the start of a designated student section.
The student section was created by MC students Gabe New and Haley Davis. It’s now official, and invites fans to come show their support for the team.
The Scottish soccer team faced Methodist in the second home game of the season. It was the first sporting event in the history of Maryville College to have a student section. Despite the delays caused by rain and lightning, fans cheered, chanted and rallied the team while wearing neon clothing. The showers did not dampen the morale of the students. Despite the loss of Maryville and the bad weather, the student section was a success.
New, a freshman athlete on the golf team, said he came up with the idea for a student section after attending the first home football game of the season. “I was excited to go to the first game, and I’m getting there and everyone is sitting down with their little cliques,” New said. He knew who to talk to and wasted no time in broaching the idea with Haley Davis.
Davis, senior at MC and president of the student body, said, “I’m here and I established myself and I know how to get things started and I’m not really afraid to do it.”
She set up an Instagram account in order to publicize the fact that the student section is official and to announce the section themes of each game. Aside from starting the social media account, Davis said there was few logistical obstacles. New and Davis both agreed that the whole process was very informal.
“I showed up early with duct tape and marked where I wanted us to sit,” Davis said.
Students attending the games will see the front rows taped to the left side of the stands and a crowd of excited fans wearing outfits that coincide with the theme of the week.
The only other preparation needed for Davis and New was to discuss the themes of each game. The first theme was a ‘neon’ and the students showed up in their brightest outfits to show their support and spirit. The themes of future games are announced via the Instagram page of the student section.
Neither student knew exactly why there had never been a designated student section before. New said he felt it had just been “Maryville’s way,” given the large number of parents and alumni who regularly attend sporting events. Davis explained that it seemed like the only thing that had stopped it from happening in the past was that no one had thought of doing it.
For all the non-students who support Maryville College athletics, New and Davis want you to know that you are always welcome to support the team with the students, as long as you are ready to participate in the theme of the week and to remain standing for the duration of the Game.
“Especially during the reunion, we really hope to have more alumni coming in,” Davis said. Take this as an invitation to join the students in the front rows on the left side of the stands on Honaker Field on October 2, October 23 and November 13 for the remainder of the home games. Students can also expect to see sections designated for them during basketball, volleyball, and football games in the future.
“I really hope we can get something like [the student section] go for all the teams, even if it’s only for a few games, or conference games or things like that if people can’t go at all, ”Davis said.
Overall, Davis and New hope this project can strengthen the college community. New wants all students to know that they are encouraged to come and participate.
“You are welcome to come hang out in the student section and just be a part of it,” he said.
Another reason Davis believes the section will benefit students is to give them the opportunity to have a traditional college experience.
“Our sense of community at Maryville College has changed a lot since COVID,” Davis said. “My first year was the only full normal year I had, and it felt a lot more cohesive and more like a family that year, and then once COVID hit we all had to go our separate ways … it really shattered our sense of community. I think creating a student section helps us bond rather than support each other, and I think it’s so important to do that right now. ”
If you want to catch a home game and participate in the student section, as well as stay up to date with weekly themes, follow @maryvillecollegestudentsection on Instagram.