Student Athlete Column: Fan Culture at Fordham

I have both experienced fan culture as an athlete and been a part of it in the crowd, and no matter where it comes from, I have realized how important it is.


Fans are an essential part of Fordham Athletics. (Carly Peterson/The Fordham Ram)

Stage fright is different for me when it comes to athletic performance versus theatrical performance. Being on the athletic stage requires focus on your physical performance rather than memorization of a speech. For me, this makes athletics something that can be highly valued, because being able to do your sport for everyone to see is vulnerable and sometimes even personal. 

With the start of the winter season and the end of the fall season, the Fordham community has gathered together to cheer on so many teams that bring the excitement and enthusiasm of sports back to campus. The tailgates, parades and cheers have been dearly missed by athletes like myself who love to support friends and fellow teammates. This is what I enjoyed most about being part of the athletic community and the student body as a whole.

Watching these players compete to be the best on the field in the pool and on the court is a way to build connections with the athletes, too. Athletes love when the fans show support and bring the noise to their games. While the athletes are focused on playing the game and competing, it is not hard to miss the supportive yells and cheers in the background, especially when it comes from friends. I know football players, swimmers and soccer players who love to hear the fans in the audience screaming and cheering. It drives the players, coaches and competition to hear the audience’s support, and I know I love hearing it when I play.

My favorite weekends are when fans gather for homecoming and parents’ weekend to cheer on the football team. The excitement and support that comes from the audience was heightened this year as Fordham has been performing exceptionally well. That was even true in previous years. Fans have always cheered on the teams together, and it has been a memory that I will never forget. 

As an athlete myself who enjoys devoting time to watch games across all sports, I have found that college has allowed me to find community with those who want to see me and my friends succeed as athletes. Devotion to these athletes who are not even on my team inspires me to do well and want to be better for the fans who look at my performance and expect for me to do the best that I can.