Sports Fans Absent From Major League Games

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Media by Leslie Tiemeyer

Leslie Tiemeyer, FACs teacher, attended the St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup Rally on Jun. 15, 2019, where she interacted with Blues players, such as defenseman Jaw Bouwmeester. This was the last rally for the Blues before COVID-19 restricted large gatherings.

“It’s just electric.” 

This is how Leslie Tiemeyer, FACS teacher, describes the palpable feeling the crowd radiates while viewing a St. Louis Blues game at the Enterprise Center.

“There’s no other way to explain it,” she said.

Tiemeyer unknowingly attended her last Blues game Feb. 29, 2020, as a birthday celebration. All season ticket holders, like Tiemeyer, were left without in-person games to attend the rest of the 2020 season.

A few days after the St. Louis Blues became the 2019 Stanley Cup Champions, Tiemeyer attended their Stanley Cup Rally in downtown St. Louis Jun. 15, 2019, where she said the excitement was equivalent to the actual moment the Blues won the Stanley Cup.

 “It was just so much fun,” Tiemeyer said. “We shook hands with and took pictures with almost every single Blues player.”

A large aspect of Tiemeyer’s love for the Blues stems from her relationship with her husband who invited her to a Blues game for their second date.

“I was so excited because I had only been to one game before that,” Tiemeyer said. “We’ve probably been to 100 games over the years together.”

Now, Tiemeyer views the Blues game from her living room with her husband and daughter and occasionally celebrates high stake games with a socially distanced driveway viewing with a few friends or family.

The team’s regular season began on Wednesday, Jan. 13, and Tiemeyer said she felt excited and looked forward to seeing the younger players and new captain Ryan O’ Reilly hit the ice once again.

St. Louis Blues superfans span across generations, including Larson Hill, senior. Hill said he became a fan at 9 years old, inspired by an elementary school best friend who loved hockey.

When Hill attended live Blues games, he said the most memorable competitions were those against a high-skilled team that ended in a Blues win.

“The thing I miss most about going to games in person is just watching the speed of the game up close, as well as the feeling of all of the fans around you in the arena,” Hill said.

Hill said he adjusted to the different environment of viewing a Blues game from home, and his family treats game day as a main event, where Hill sometimes wears his jersey in support.

It’s a lot different than watching a game in person because you don’t get to feel the exciting atmosphere of nearly 20,000 fans screaming all around you.”

— Larson Hill, senior

“It’s a lot different than watching a game in person because you don’t get to feel the exciting atmosphere of nearly 20,000 fans screaming all around you,” Hill said.

Although he misses the live viewing of a St. Louis Blues game, Hill said he is grateful the team has the opportunity to play.

While the National Hockey League (NHL) attracts millions of fans, like Tiemeyer and Hill, the National Football League (NFL) also has many supporters, including Kansas City Chiefs fan Jillian Cole, junior.

After learning the rules of football, Cole became a Kansas City Chiefs fan at age  6. Since then, she has attended five Chiefs games, four in Kansas City and one in Tennessee.

Cole said the live crowd of Kansas City Chiefs game bonds over their shared passion for the team.

”Before COVID, the stadium had such good energy, almost like a family,” Cole said. “Everybody is there for the same purpose.” 

Cole said her dad inspired her passion for the Chiefs, as they watched the football games together every Sunday growing up. 

Sunday night football in the Cole household continued throughout the years, and Cole said the family developed their own traditions. Some have remained throughout her childhood while others have left.

A tradition that has carried on, Cole said, is that each of her parents and her wear an individual outfit to watch a Sunday Chiefs game, and the outfit remains the same until the Chiefs lose.

“I have this sweatshirt, but I can’t wear it anymore because we lost last week,” Cole said. “I have to find a new outfit for the playoffs.”

Cole said in previous years her family bought ice cream after a Chief’s victory, but that tradition has lessened once the team started winning consecutive games.

The Kansas City Chiefs recently clinched the AFC West Conference, allowing them to continue into the playoffs, and Cole said she will be nervously watching the playoffs from home, hoping the team makes it to the Superbowl.