Don’t get me wrong, I not suggesting you paint your face with the team colors, shave the team logo into your hair, and go to every game decked out from head to toe in team gear (but if that’s your thing, go for it, just make sure you take a selfie and post it to social media with the #lethbridge2017) What I’m suggesting is that you find a local sporting event that you normally might not attend, and head down to the rink/field/gym to cheer on some local athletes. The benefits would be two-sided, with both you and the athlete/team reaping the rewards.
On a small scale, sport brings family, friends and even strangers together. On a larger scale, it can bring entire communities together. There are not that many excuses in life to come together with a rink/gym/field full of mostly strangers and feel that connection with your community. If you know one of the players or one of the teams is the ‘home team’, it might be easy to know who to cheer for. If you don’t know any of the athletes or don’t have a reason to cheer for one team over the other, it can be fun to cheer for the underdogs or the visiting team, who might appreciate the support! When you are a sports fan, and you cheer your team on to victory, or even if they are defeated, you feel like you are part of something bigger. When they play well, you feel that victorious feeling, and it’s exciting.
Being a sports fan can give you something to talk about in the otherwise awkward moments in life. A sport event you recently attended (and of course, cheered your heart out at) can be a great conversation starter around the water cooler, or when you meet someone new.
If you had a long week at work or school, being a fan in the stands is the perfect escape and a reason to give yourself a break from thinking about all the responsibilities you may have. For the time being, whether it be 3 periods, 4 quarters or a race, a round or a flight, you get to devote yourself to cheering, clapping and ‘woohoo-ing’ until you are hoarse!
The best part about attending local sport events is the positive effect it can have on the athletes. Imagine being at a game with only a few spectators, who clap half-heartedly when a goal is scored. Hopefully, the athletes are still going to play their best, but won’t likely be motivated to ‘go that extra mile’ in the game. Now imagine the stands are full, and the crowd gets excited every time their team passes or make a good play, and when there is a goal scored, the crowd is on their feet and goes wild! Win or lose, which scenario do you think will leave that players feeling energized about the sport they love, and motivated to practice harder and become the best that they can be?
The other advantage to local sports is that it is far more economical that attending large-scale professional events, allowing the whole family to get in on the fun, and allowing you to do it more often. The best part is, your admission fee to the high school basketball tournament (for example) directly supports that schools sports programs, in turn supporting local athletes. Win. Win.
We know it can be a challenge to find out where and when sport is happening in Lethbridge. That’s why the Lethbridge Sport Council has a sport event calendar as part of Lethbridge 2017: Get Active Through Sport, where you can find out all the events, tournaments, competitions and meets happening in our community. Visit www.lethbridge2017.ca (sorry, website no longer available) to find out where and when you can CHEER ON!
Here are a few of the events coming up in Lethbridge:
• March 1 - 4 – ACAC Women’s Basketball Championships
• March 3 & 4 – PBR Challenge
• March 3 & 4 – ACAC indoor track Championships
• March 4 – Lethbridge Skating Club Annual Carnival
• March 4 – Lethbridge Bowbenders Club Indoor Archery
• March 8, 11, 15 &17 – Lethbridge Hurricanes Home Games
• March 9 – Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni Game
• March 11 – Parkour STYLE Competition
• March 17 – Murray Chevrolet Mixed Open Bonspiel
• March 18 – Moonlight Run
• March 24 - 26 – LMBA Atom City Tournament
• March 31 - Apr 2 – Chinook Open Figure Skating Competition
Help us support athletes, sports clubs and leagues to make their events exciting and memorable. Bums in bleachers, chatter online and pride in local sport makes a community stronger!
Originally published in the Lethbridge Herald on February 17th, 2017