Uplifting or degrading? A look into student section Instagram pages

Student-run fan pages for high school sports, particularly basketball, have turned into a staple among the county’s sports fans, and the impact they have is becoming very apparent.

Howard County is regarded as one of the strongest counties in the state for basketball. The teams are good, the fans are loud, and the atmosphere at a Friday night county game is usually nothing short of electric. 

Fan support is huge for teams in big games, and as of late that doesn’t only mean packing the gyms. Students have started fan pages for their own schools on Instagram, usually advertised as “student section” or “barstool” pages. These accounts not only provide hype for upcoming games, but have also notoriously bashed opposing schools in a humorous light. This begs the question: is the nature of these accounts helpful or harmful to the athletes being scrutinized?

The consensus seems to be that these posts bring more fans to the games,and in turn makes the players even more fueled to perform for their schools. Ty Beck-Winter, a senior at Centennial and a co-captain on the basketball team, thinks that the accounts “definitely help add extra excitement to the games. The more into it the fans are, the more amped-up we get as players.”

Beck-Winter also explains that knowing he and the team could get some heat on social media if they have a bad game “isn’t something we actively think about during games, but for sure is a bit of added pressure.”

With added pressure, though, comes the extra fuel that makes these games so exciting. Without the existence of these pages, there’s a chance that the biggest games of the year for these athletes would be forgotten by fans, leaving behind the support and energy that the players love.

Centennial’s own Instagram page, @centennialstudentsection, has become a beloved account by athletes and fans alike, while also starting a new tradition within the student body. The account started in 2019, with a then-senior at the helm. Each year, the account has changed hands, being passed down to a rising senior when the current one graduates. This year’s anonymous account holder believes that “running the student section is a very great tradition that Centennial has, and it’s a real honor to get it handed down…from the previous class of seniors.”

Like them or not, student section accounts on social media are likely here to stay in the realm of high school sports. The energy they bring to games is widely agreed upon as a major positive to everyone involved, from the schools themselves to the athletes in the heat of battle. 

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