By Tyler M.
In 2007, attendance at athletic events by Duxbury High School students began to decrease, and Duxbury has since struggled to bring back the section traditionally known as ‘The Dragons Den.’
Athletic director Mr. Holdgate said that attendance levels have been consistent since the decline, with the exception of senior nights for boys basketball. Football has a particular system of ticket sale different than those of other athletic events, but still sells the most tickets and makes the biggest profits. The only expectations for students who attend any athletic events are not to swear or yell at opponents in a negative manner and to simply be respectful of others in attendance. Still, according to Mr. Holdgate, no other athletic events are close to football’s total profit and ticket numbers, even though Duxbury has the lowest ticket prices in the Patriot League for all events except for football.
However, the results of a recent survey show that there are many reasons for low student attendance. Although 17 out of 171 responses wrote that timing changes would loosen up their schedule, 62 said they would be more likely to attend if more people went and there was a bigger, well-organized, and more spirited student section overall. Twenty-six responders wanted better announcement of games in advance. Senior Kevin H. said, “Unless you’re on Twitter and reading Mr. Holdgate’s tweets, it’s hard to know when the games are happening. They should put the news out on the school announcements.” Twenty kids wanted more free things or more food and concession stands at games. Sophomore Ben Q. said, “ Everyone likes free stuff. [It’d be nice to get more stuff], like t-shirts or hats or something else that you can wear, at [major sports games] like basketball games, hockey games, etc.”
Plymouth North High School, one of Duxbury’s Patriot League rivals, finds its football team dominant in attendance numbers and follows MIAA policies for spectator behavior like Duxbury, but has a couple of key differences. Plymouth North athletic director Mr. Foley said, “Student attendance depends on the season, the success the team is having and who the opponent is. The Plymouth North vs. Plymouth South games are always well attended. If a team is having success and are competitive the student body often will rally around the team.” However, Plymouth North has a much more organized fan section than that of Duxbury. Mr. Foley said, “Our students have a fan section called “Obery Street Elite”. They pick “theme” nights for different events: Christmas Night, Flannel Night, Hawaiian Night, White out, Pink out, etc.”
In Duxbury, a question still remains of how many students will attend future games and when. Ben said, “I think people want to [go to games more often], but may be shy or intimidated by [being part of a big, rowdy crowd]. Mr. Holdgate believes the issue is more about busyness. “Kids always show up for tournaments and other big rivalry games,” he said. “Otherwise students are busy people and do not attend events like they did 10 years ago. There are a lot more options for today’s youth than going to games.”