Empty bleachers

Daniel Kim, sports editor

“No doubt about it,” Mike Wade, associate principal, said.

Of the 14 seasons he experienced, the 2018 football season had the worst turnout of students, according to Wade.

According to the KHS athletics office, Lyons Memorial Stadium at KHS has a total capacity of 3,800 people. The first home football game against Rockwood Summit sold a season high of 1,541 tickets, not including those who used the student sports pass, which is available only for KHS students and is designated for the student section. The sales gradually declined over the season, selling little over 400 tickets for the final home game of the season against Lafayette High School.

photo courtesy of Abby Larson

“At kickoffs, there are more seniors running the flags than there are in the stands,” Wade said. “Later it picks up, you get a full crowd and they disappear [by halftime]. I go down to the field during half time, and I look up to the bleachers, and because the band is out [on the field], the student section is empty.”

Max Zuniga, senior and Pep Nation director, said he was disappointed with the student section this season. He said he expected high turnouts especially from upperclassmen.

“We were super excited at the beginning of the year to get everything going,” Zuniga said. “Throughout the season we had low attendance. It hurt a little bit, but we tried to attract many students.”

Grace Hartman, senior pommie, said she could not help but notice the low turnouts while they were performing during halftime.

“We were out there in the last game even though it was raining,” Hartman said. “The stands were empty and the only people who were there were parents. I don’t feel like people see the work that we do.”

According to the survey, 35.3% (91/258) of students believe Pep Nation didn’t do a good job this season, while 29.5% (76/258) said they were unsure. However Zuniga said some people don’t realize how much effort Pep Nation put in to promote the games for not only football, but every fall sports as well.

“Pep Nation works their butt off promoting the [KHS sport events],” Zuniga said. “We work very hard on social media posts. We worked on them for 15 weeks straight, [trying to reach out to KHS students] by Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram, and sent constant reminders out there. You see us on announcements [every] Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays to promote the game and the team.”

Hartman believes Pep Nation shouldn’t be blamed for the poor attendance of students. Zuniga and Hartman both said low attendance might have caused by poor weather. For example, the game against Lafayette was set in a mid 40s weather with light wind and drizzle.

“It [does] suck that we are out there, giving it all while nobody is there,” Hartman said. “But I get it. It has been absolutely freezing and pouring rain, so I’m not sure if I necessarily be there [if I was a in the student section]. We don’t have control of who will show up or not. At the end of the day it’s their choice.”

Wade said he noticed in declined participation in other school-spirited things as well. According to Wade, based on his past experience, there was always a surplus of students signed up for teacher positions for the senior skit, but this year there were 30 spots open by the end of October.

“It’s never too late to get into the spirit,” Wade said. “You will never experience high school again. You are missing out. It’s so much fun.”