Spectators often focus on the action on the court but rarely notice the intensity on the sides. The explosion of praise and dedication that causes chairs to flip and towels to twirl has the power to inspire an entire venue.
The bench is not a place to kick back and relax. Every single player, whether on the court or not, has a job to do every minute of the game.
Energy, teamwork and passion are all factors evident in the athletes who come in off the bench.
“We all have to be engaged in the game,” said freshman basketball player Matthew Quint. “You can’t be lazy and unfocused.”
Immersing yourself in the game is a big rule. The players always pay attention to what’s happening on the court. Whenever a coach is shouting plays or assignments, the players on the bench echo what he says to help the athletes on the court.
“We communicate to the guys out there,” said freshman basketball player Chandler Wright. “We yell to them what they might have missed or need to do.”
Besides communication and play assignments, players have their own fun on the bench. Whenever a big shot is made they will all “go crazy” to hype up the crowd and the players on the court.
“Dez [Desmond Mitchell-LaFlam] does push-ups for the points made,” said Wright. “We might even shoot the bow-and-arrow as the guys run by us.”
Superstitions even play a factor, so seating arrangements are never changed.
“Our seating arrangement is Chandler to my right, Matt McCorkle to my left, then Ryan Hobbs to Matt’s left,” said Quint. “We like to keep it that way.”
Communication and energy are a contributing factors to a great bench player. Whether they hype up the athletes on the court or the fans in the stands, they have an important job at each game.