Fans Come Roaring Back To Sutton High’s Bleachers

Could this be a return to “normal”?


Christina Tuomala

The Barnyard is ready for the playoffs!

Matteo D'Anello, Staff Writer

When thinking of a High School sports game, it would be hard to overlook that fans play a large part in that experience. The cult-like chants, songs that are sung, and gonzo energy all make up the designated fan section of a Sutton High School sports game. Now, imagine a high school Basketball game with no fans. Gone are the chants and songs, the only sounds that can be heard are the squeaks of the athlete’s cleats, buzzers, and talks between coaches and their players. Well, that was Sutton Schools’ Basketball in their 2020-2021 season. Back when COVID-19 was at, then, an all-time high from over 4,000-6,000 cases per day, that was the only safe choice for the sport to continue at that point in time. But as the pandemic cooled down and sports were allowing fans and spectators to attend games, it was certain that Sutton High School’s 2021-2022 Basketball season would allow fans to once again come back to cheer on. 

Only one problem arose as the season started, the Omicron Variant was starting to show itself to the world and cases were back on the rise again in December. And it was decided, again, that the safest way to proceed with the season, at the time, was to not allow fans to watch the games. While it was frustrating, it was the right thing to do. Like how cases were at an all-time high in December 2020, cases in December 2021 were hitting all-time Massachusetts highs. It was like Groundhog Day, reliving the same situations all over again. But unlike the start of 2021, we have a better gauge on what is safe and what was not. And after the Holiday wave of COVID cases came down, it was announced over the loudspeakers that fans could come back to attend Sutton High School Basketball games.

The fans were ecstatic. They have long awaited to return and come they did. And while there were many fans I could have interviewed, I interviewed Sutton Senior, and Assumption commit, Patrick Kostiw on what it was like for fans to return to root for their fellow Sammies and Suzies.

When asked how he felt when Mr. McCarthy announced that fans could return, Patrick stated, “I was very excited as we got to root for our Sammies and Suzies and fill up the Barnyard again”.

About what he was most excited about, “I was very excited to join others and participate with the themes we correlate with”.

Patrick had much to share regarding his favorite memories as a Sutton sports fan, going farther than just a Basketball one. “I think one of the best memories was in the girl’s (Soccer) game at Northbridge. I remember Anna Joseph scored a goal and the crowd piled up against the bleachers”. But specifically regarding Sutton Basketball, “When Josh Jenkins got his first bucket with the crowd back. The crowd went wild!”

The first game with fan attendance was on January 26th. While the Sammies, unfortunately, did not win, at least they had a supportive crowd to get them through the loss. Since then, fans have made up for all the lost time they haven’t been able to attend Sutton Basketball games. From a wide variety of different themes every game to the enthusiastic participation, it is hard to deny how dedicated and engaged Sutton High School sports fans are. Even after novel pandemic woes that took away a unique collective experience for some time, it never stopped these fans from coming back in full force and making the best of the season that’s ahead of them.