Schools are dropping the ball on the student section

Lauren Olsen

Whether it be rain or shine, indoors or out, the Redwood student section always shows up to support their peers. The student section is an area where students unleash their full-throated passion and school pride, dress head-to-toe in themes with faces smeared in vibrant paints and bodies ornamented with accessories that bear students’ to show spirit. Students unite, cheering and shouting together throughout the stadium. 

According to High School Today Magazine, over 510 million fans attend high school sporting events yearly in America, making it an essential part of high school. Bob Gardner is the former executive director of the National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS). 

“A ticket to a high school sporting event remains one of the best values for the entertainment dollar,” Garnder said. 

In the student section, everyone joins in a unified sense of purpose, all equally committed to the school’s glory and one common cause: beating the opposing team. However, there is a diminishing presence in the student section at Redwood sporting events. This is not due to a lack of vibrant support and cheers pouring from the stands, but rather, a non-diverse representation of students attending games. Instead, Redwood may be losing out on school spirit because there is only a limited number of student tickets. This begs the question: Could this be due to Redwood not making tickets available for students first?

Local high schools are not prioritizing the distribution of game tickets to students first. For instance, The Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) championship basketball game on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023, was completely sold out. Many students were unable to get tickets. Freshman Charlie Dickerson loves watching and playing basketball in his free time. Dickerson wanted to get a ticket, trying in both the first and second rounds but was unsuccessful.

“Many of my friends [attended] the game, so it [was disappointing] that I couldn’t go even though I tried to get tickets both times they went available,” Dickerson said. 

A “student-first” approach to ticket distribution can help encourage a greater school spirit and promote a sense of community among students. Specifically, it is essential that tickets are first made available to Redwood students before being offered to the local community. This approach would encourage school spirit by encouraging more students to participate in the excitement of the game, including those who wouldn’t usually attend a sporting event. In addition, it would promote and foster greater school pride and spirit, allowing all students to come together.

 Redwood could first invest heavily in student support before turning to the community. While Redwood and other Tamalpais Unified High School District (TUHSD) schools have done an adequate job at trying to get more students to games by promoting the ASB sticker, which allows free game access, it still puts a time limit on when tickets are available to students. However, as students repeatedly miss out on the chance to get tickets, attending games becomes less of a consideration and falls off their radar. If Redwood were to heavily promote and offer same-day tickets, it would be at the forefront of students’ minds when planning their weekends. 

However, the local community, including middle school kids and nearby residents, plays a crucial role in supporting our Redwood teams. Additionally, some student-allotted seats may go unused. A report from The Badger Herald, the student-led newspaper at the University of Wisconsin, revealed that around 1,000 football game tickets reserved for students were never used. Instead of leaving these seats empty, they could have been given to members of the local community in Wisconsin. Similarly, if Redwood sets aside tickets exclusively for students, there is a risk of some seats remaining unoccupied. 

Redwood can achieve a solution to this concern by adopting a student-first and student-always approach, which would mean offering early ticket access to students before the general public and setting aside a large number of tickets exclusively for students. The Mckinney Independent School District, in the greater area of Dallas, Texas, has implemented this method by releasing student tickets three days before general public tickets go on sale and by implementing a student-friendly strategy that ensures same-day accessibility to a larger student population. A similar approach at Redwood could deliver significant benefits by encouraging student attendance, promoting school spirit, and fostering a strong sense of community among Redwood students who may otherwise feel sidelined.