B-Ball Blues: evolution of the student section


An empty stand of bleachers awaits Memorial's hard-working basketball players at away games.

Natalia Mora, Memorial Staff Writer

Recent gym construction has affected not only Memorial sports and clubs but also the respective student body. A considerable decline has been observed in school spirit from students cheering on the sidelines, resulting in a previously large student attendance now limited to only the most diehard fans.

Memorial sports coaches insist that it hasn’t affected performance, but it takes a toll on basketball players who regularly shuttle to off-site locations for practices and away games. Reportedly, girl’s volleyball distributed OKC Thunder tickets, giveaways, and even free admission to select students, as an incentive to promote attendance at games.

“Not having a gym is equivalent to not having a family room or a living room,” basketball head coach Shane Cowherd said. “It’s kind of like saying you want to have family night, but you can only meet, as a family, in the bedroom closet; not too many members of the family are going to show up.”

Players and supporters alike, especially in varsity, may struggle to upkeep school responsibilities with a full basketball schedule. This, accompanied by Cowherd’s “bedroom closet” analogy, spurs a myriad of diversion points from the game of hand, which can affect even the most loyal of Bulldog buffs.

“The student body hasn’t been showing up for some of the games, but I still appreciate all their support and dedication for the team, no matter what the record is,” senior player Beckham King said. “It’s always great to have a student body there helping us, but as a team, we don’t let that affect us.”

The gym expected renovations to conclude mid-year, allowing for Swine Week assemblies and activities to take place in the new gym. However, construction schedules have pushed back to finishing around this summer, foreshadowing a full season of away games for the year, much to the dismay of senior varsity players who will graduate before the new gym is finished.

Although Memorial faces a plethora of limitations as a result of architecture renovations, they are staying motivated. Will Long, senior leader of the student section team, shares why the sidelines are so important to the Bulldog family.

“Besides being fun and having something to do with your friends, it builds a lot of character,” Long said. “I like it because you can see how other people act when they’re under pressure in a game and learn from it at the same time.”

Coach Dandy Peeler adds to this idea, suggesting performance doesn’t need to change as a result.

“We can’t control the student body’s attendance, but we can control the things that we do, the shots that we make, and the effort we give on the floor,” Peeler said.

Fostering a more actively supportive atmosphere in our school benefits the players, coaches and students alike. Students shouldn’t let this construction damper our high school experience, but instead, take initiative for school game participation and support.

Catch Edmond Memorial varsity basketball’s next game at Southmoore located at UCO on Feb. 6, 7:30pm.


Contact Natalia Mora at [email protected]