No fair-weather here

Kaitlin Sells

Sports, in a way, work like a clock. There are a lot of operating parts that work together to make the beautiful event of a game we all know and love to attend. The players, the coaches, the plays and set pieces, and the fans, are a big component as well.

The fan base, particularly at Georgia Southern, is rather large when it comes to Eagle Nation – particularly largest when it comes to support for football and basketball.

Those sports fanatics line the stands, stomp their feet and clap their hands, and they hoot and holler once we get a point and gain the lead, initiating a series of different traditional cheers all true-blue fans will recognize in a heartbeat.

Georgia Southern football obviously draws in a large crowd of all sorts: students, alumni, families and locals. You’ll find fans all around the ‘Boro on football Saturdays, starting tailgates early in the morning, setups all the way from under the water tower at Paulson to the road lining campus, making it an all-day affair full of tradition, food and good people.

Although the Eagles did have a rough season in 2017 – going 2-10 – the attendance for home games still brought in, on average, more than 15,000 people to cheer on the Eagles. Paulson Stadium still rung loud with the traditional back and forth “GEORGIA” “SOUTHERN.”

Although there weren’t too many memorable celebration moments, once those did come around, you can bet Eagle Nation went crazy in the stands and were there at the end of every game – good and bad – to sing the alma matter along with the band and the players.

The Eagles went through a major low this season, this being the first time Georgia Southern had back-to-back losing seasons since the 1940s, and the true-blue Eagle Nation still supported our school, our football team and still held pride for their school.

Basketball in Eagle Nation is a whole different ballgame – pun intended. This 2017-2018 season especially, the Eagles have proven themselves to be an improving and impressive team, so far being 12-5 and beating big schools – the biggest of them being against ACC opponent Wake Forest, whom they defeated in a tight game, 85-83.

With this impactful advancement, more fans have been drawn to support the Eagles, with the “Hanner Hooligans” expanding to, on average, more than 1,300 people per home game.

With the success of the basketball team beginning a few years ago, Georgia Southern athletics decided to really jazz up their games, putting on a big show for when the players come out and to introduce the starters, including the use of a smoke machine and laser lights.

They also introduce fan activities at halftime and throughout the game, make a free throw shot for a prize, relay races across the court, and launch t-shirts at excited, hyped-up fans.

Gus and the cheerleaders are also there to cheer on the team and get the crowd on their feet and making noise, although they usually don’t need any help with that. At any close game, you can hear the chants and screams from the Hooligans as the opposing team lines up for a free throw in an attempt to throw them off, but you could hear a pin drop in Hanner Field House once the Eagles step up to do the same.

They’re on their feet in support and you can feel the adrenaline and tension running through Hanner until the last seconds of the clock run out. Traditions still stand in Eagle Nation of course – the classic chants, the playing of the alma matter and the fight song ringing throughout Hanner.

Also, be on the lookout for the “Dancing Man” that always breaks it down on the floor during timeouts and music breaks.

As stated, Georgia Southern fans are some of the best in the South. They’re passionate, they’re classy, they’re fun, they’re welcoming and most of all, they’re True Blue. There are hardly any bandwagon Georgia Southern Eagles fans due to it not being the biggest school in Georgia, but they’re some of the most faithful and devoted to their alma matter.

All of us are here and have been here, through the good and the bad, and are always in support of our school. We wear our colors with pride and no matter what, we will always cheer: “One more time for the greatest team in America.”