The hot Singapore sun beating onto a sea of red shirts and school pride. SAS students scream, shout and cheer for their fellow Eagles as they run across the field chasing a small black and white ball. Now step back a week. Those same stands that once were alive with people cheering for their team now stand desolate and empty. And yet Eagles still fly across the fields, chasing their black and white prey. What is the difference between the two weeks? The answer is a five letter word: IASAS.
During the IASAS games, SAS students are let out of their classes in order to support their peers as they compete against other international schools around Southeast Asia. But during the regular school year, no one ever attends the games to support their team.
This may be because the games take place after school from 4 p.m.- 6 p.m. They are time-consuming, and students “have better things to do,” as varsity soccer player Ian Arzel put it.
“It kinda sucks because it’s nice to have that moral support, but at the same time it’s also less pressure. If people are watching, you know you can’t mess up and that just makes me more nervous. But I think I’d still like it if people still came and supported us,” Arzel said.
It is not like we don’t have school spirit. During the spirit events held at the cafeteria, everyone is excited. Junior Mallory Duplantis felt “people are nicer and just generally happier on Spirit days, I don’t know, it’s got to be something about the vibe of the whole thing.”
During the IASAS games the whole school is overflowing with school spirit and pride, decked out in various shades of reds, chanting and cheering their Eagles on. IASAS spirit rivals that of the high schools in America, where school spirit is seen every Friday night for the local football games.
Despite this being an “American” school, that aspect of American culture seems to have evaded us. “It might be because we are also an International school, and so a good part of our community never lived in the US and so they never experienced the vibes and the fun of being apart of something bigger,” Duplantis said.
Other schools in Singapore seem to have the same problem – people rarely attend the games to support their teammates. Students at the Overseas Family School never attend the games either. This could be because they have two fields, one very far from their school.
“Naturally people get lazy and don’t want to go all the way to Dempsey to watch a game,” said Timur Yildiz, a soccer player from OFS. But even at the games held at their school, their stands, like ours, are empty. It seems that this lack of school spirit is a Singapore-wide occurrence. Regardless of school, nationality or sport, students in Singapore either “can’t be bothered” or just lack the school spirit to attend sports games and support their peers.
The Booster Club and PTA moms have been working to increase the support for sports players. This year, the Booster Club tried to increase the support for the players by reviving the cheerleading team. Brenae McLeish, a cheerleader of four years, felt this change “definitely makes the players feel better…it makes them feel better when there are people apart from their moms watching them. Especially when it’s a bunch of teenage girls.”
The rebirth of the cheerleading team has made the football games a more lively affair, but a group of six girls jumping around with pom poms still does not make up for the empty stands.
“It’d be better if there are more than six girls cheering them on,” Mcleish went on to say, “but I guess if you want to experience a true football game then you’ll have to go to America because it’s just not that popular in Asia.”
At a school like SAS, where athletes train nearly 10 hours a week, it is disappointing to know that despite all their hard work, their peers just don’t seem to care enough to go and support their fellow Eagles as they fly across the field to bring home the gold.