Student Sections: The Truth about Portage Northern

PN Student Sections Have Room to Improve


PN Super Fans at a recent soccer game.

Andrew Stone, Staff Writer

In front of about 150 or so students in the crowd for Portage Northern’s Winterfest basketball game against Benton Harbor last year, a player went up for a dunk and grazed the rim as he put the ball through the net. The students went nuts! The only problem being the player who attempted the dunk was not a Portage Northern player. In fact, as BentonHarbor was pulling away to a ten point victory, the Northern students cheered for BentonHarbor. Even with Northern struggling along to a disappointing year, everywhere they played, no matter the schools record, students showed up and cheered for their team. Niles, St. Joe, Loy Norrix, Portage Central, Lakeshore all routinely bring a very good number of loud students to games, while here at PN, we get outnumbered and shown up, in our own gym.

The problems are not only limited to just basketball. As much of the student body has yet to find out, there are more sports at Northern than just football and soccer. Outside of the PN/PC games, there are 22 other sports that get very little support. “ We have a couple of really good supporters that show up to every home game, but it’s only a few,” Collin Arnold (12) said about the hockey games. Almost every sport outside of football and soccer are actually surprised if there is student support.

Getting students to games is only half the battle. Having students be into the games and pay attention is another. Niles basketball games have student sections that fill up an entire side of bleachers, on a nightly basis. They come complete with chants, crazy antics, and a general knowledge of what is actually going on. For student sections to work, they need students who are actually paying attention to the game. In a recent MLive article about PN football, there is a photo of a play happening early in the game, with the student section in the background. It appears as if 80% of the students are not paying attention or even turned around.

As much room as there is for improvement, the potential is there for having the best student support around.  Tweaks to student admission rates and keeping students notified to when there is a game could easily boost student support. Portage Northern could easily be among the top in toughest places to play if the student body would come together for all events and not just the select few.