Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Annoying or Helpful? The Ultimate Softball Debate

And now for perhaps the most controversial topic in the world of softball:  team cheers.  Having a loud dugout, most would agree, is vital to a team's attitude and emotion during a game.  If the team is up and loud, they play better together and with more energy.  But a quiet dugout usually means a rough day (and more often than not, an upset coach).  So where do we draw the line on cheering?  I think it's safe to say no one would argue against a team that simply cheers loudly on an individual basis, but what about organized team chants and cheers?  When we're young, we learn these cheers and we do them in the dugout and the parents (at first) think we're so cute, all yelling and hollering together.  But then we get a little older and the majority of teams no longer take part in this ritual.  By the time we get to this level, a team with organized cheers is quite rare.  So the question is this: do these rare teams gain any advantage over the rest of us by performing these annoying little rhymes?  The answer obviously lies entirely in psychology, for there's really nothing to be gained physically from the practice (on the contrary, most people are likely to have a sore throat afterward).  The case can definitely be made here.  Personally, when an opposing team's first batter steps to the plate and the rest of the team erupts in whatever cheer/chant they have planned, I roll my eyes and think "Well, this sucks."  Let's be honest, no one wants to sit through seven innings or more of a bunch of girls doing ridiculous chants.  I'd even venture to say that the people doing them don't enjoy it all the time.  The cheering team really gains an edge by mentally startling and agitating the team on the field.  The pitcher especially is vulnerable to being thrown off by certain cheers if she isn't as mentally prepared as she could be.  Aside from the mental advantage over the opposing team, a cheering squad will usually come together more than others.  Especially on a small team that needs every voice to get the full effect, every member has to participate and be involved in every play of the game. 

So are there any downsides to being a team that cheers?  Not if you don't mind losing your voice or being hated for being loud.

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