Center Grove Student Sections, Be Better


C. Tedrow

Students cheer on the football team.

Sam Findley, Sports Editor

In late November, the girls basketball team was set to take on Franklin, a team that bested the Trojans 40-37 10 days prior in the county championship, arguably the most important non-tournament game of the season to be played at Center Grove. The game came down to the wire and the Trojans trailed 37-31 going into the final quarter of the game.  

Franklin’s student section was loud. Center Grove’s — nonexistent. Emily Karr was fed up. 

She still is. 

“It doesn’t feel good, especially when it’s a home game and no one could care to support the girls. I personally have felt no student section this year. I know for a fact most girls/guys go to football games without understanding the game, so I don’t understand why it’s so hard to support the girls, especially when it’s inside and they could get their friends to come too,” Karr said. “When there is a big student section, the environment is special to play in. But I guess it just really shows how much all girl’s sports get no attention or support. However, we are forever grateful for the support we do have.”

The issue of Center Grove student sections is one that has bothered me for a while. It’s not like Center Grove doesn’t have a culture that puts sports at the center of the school and the community.

This isn’t just a basketball issue. In the volleyball sectional championship against county-rival Greenwood, a school with 1,256 students compared to Center Grove 2,521, had a full set of bleachers filled with students. The same was true when the Trojans faced Franklin earlier in their sectional run. Where was the Center Grove student section? 

Oh, it didn’t exist. 

The issue of student sections is not just a girl’s problem either. Boys sports have the same problems, though to a lesser extent. The boys basketball team’s only sizable student section has come in two games so far in their season opener against Greenwood and their matchup with Whiteland later in the season. 

In the boys basketball matchup with Pike, I remember sitting right under the rim to take some photos of layups. There were about 35 students all in the student section, a bigger crowd than most games, but there was a problem. 

No one was standing and no one was together. Instead of a student section, it was a hodgepodge of 5-10 students sitting in separate groups, chatting like they were at a country club, not a high school basketball game. A good portion of the students were football players. 

So, why do we support football but not other teams? Is it that they win? Is it that there are only a handful of home games each season? Is it Friday night?

Or, is it that we only support teams that win every game?

If that’s the attitude we have, I’m embarrassed to be a student at CG.

Is it not embarrassing as a school to not have students sections at games when other schools do? 

Senior pitcher Jacob Wilson also knows that student sections add a different level to a game. But, he learned this from Jasper, not Center Grove. 

“I’d say that the baseball team doesn’t like to dwell on the negative of not having a student section because it’s a rare sight to see a baseball student section, especially in Indiana. The only student section we’ve ever gotten to play in front of was Jasper’s. We unfortunately lost that game, but just the added drama of even having that many students from another school at a game just made everything that much more electric,” Wilson said. “A student section of our own while we make a run for that state title is what kids first fall in love with the game dream of. There’s no better feeling than striking someone out or having a big hit in front of all your fans. Fans don’t realize how much of an impact they can have on players. If we had a student section along for the ride of chasing the state title, it would create a season all of us would remember for the rest of our lives.”

Here’s my challenge: let’s be better. It’s too late in the year for most students to consider buying an all-sports pass. But, what if games were free? For one night, let’s see what a student section can do. Mark your calendars:

  • Jan. 22 – Boys and Girls swimming takes on Lawrence Central on senior night. 
  • Jan. 28 – Girls basketball plays their last MIC game ever against Lawrence North.
  • Feb. 11 – Boys basketball hosts the first-ever “Pack the Vandy” night for the Lawrence Central game

Students get in free to all these games with a student ID. And maybe, if we all commit to going, we can see just how loud our student section can be. 

This isn’t a complex problem with a complex solution. The solution is simple: show up, stand up, be loud, be creative, be together, and have fun.  

I’ll be there. Will you?