Being a sports fanatic, I know that most of us harp on the idea of “home field” or “home-court advantage.”
Many people think home-field advantage is a crock and has nothing to do with outcomes.
But I’m telling you, there’s absolutely something different about playing a doubleheader in the presence of your friends, family and peers on your own turf, rather than on the road after a three-hour bus ride and travel food.
The difference between playing at home or away is all in the mindset.
For Boston University softball, our favorite part of playing at home remains getting to listen to our own warm-up music. Hitting while listening to our own tracks pumps us up quite a bit more than the music nearly all of our opponents choose to play.
No disrespect to Jason Mraz, but “The Remedy?” For a pump-up song? Really?
So for BU softball, a team whose mood sways with whatever songs are being bounced off of the Atrium, music plays a huge role in our performance, mainly because it loosens us up.
Take our first home weekend of the season.
Before the first of our two games on April 13, our team made a music video before game time in our locker room to Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop.”
Everyone put on the Athletic Department’s hideous red communal windbreakers — they go about six inches past your knees, are even longer in the back, and zip all the way up, making you look like a red marshmallow — and whatever random props were found in the confines of our locker room.
Some of these things consisted of a replica WWE Raw wrestling belt, an umbrella, a wooden cutout of Rhett, water guns … I think you get the idea.
After a loose, silly “pre-pre-game” warm-up, the day took off on a positive note.
We all wore rally cap visors for warm-ups, stood in a circle and did dances before taking the infield-outfield, getting to witness junior third baseman Megan Volpano’s Irish jigging to “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.”
During infield-outfield we had what I guess you could call a dance-off. The outfielders were so impressed with the infielders’ rendition of the wave and the “Bernie” that we didn’t even try to battle back.
Going into the weekend, we were 11-20-1.
But after we played loose and had fun, we ended up sweeping the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
After that, our 4-1 home record began highlighting the presence of home-field advantage.
Maybe our success at home is because we have some of the greatest pitching and walk-up songs I’ve ever heard — no bias or anything.
Or maybe it’s all due to the atmosphere.
I’m not saying BU softball generates a huge following — anyone who has been to one of our games would know that would be complete B.S. — but the fans that do show up definitely add a little something to the atmosphere.
Our home opener against the University of Connecticut was a terrific example of this.
In the fourth inning we were trailing the Huskies 8-0 when the BU wrestling team showed up.
Despite us being down eight runs, the wrestlers started creating some tension down the left-field line as they jumped up and down on the bleachers, chanting rather obnoxiously, and heckling the UConn players — basically, they were just being wrestlers.
We heard them from the dugout in the bottom of the fourth and caught wind of their charisma.
That inning we scored five runs, and just like that the 8-0 shutout turned into an 8-5 game.
The home-opener atmosphere that our fans created sparked an exciting — and at the time rare — 13-hit game for us, where we could feel the energy of the stands each time something went our way.
Even though we ended up falling short to UConn 11-8, we played with energy and heart throughout the game, and I felt as if we could take the game at any given point.
Hey, you can’t win them all.
In an interview I did with BU All-Access, Brian Maurer asked me if I believed in the whole “home-field advantage” pretense.
And I absolutely do.
I love playing at home.
There’s something about the presence of our fellow athletes that seems to fuel our team, resulting in us performing at a higher standard on our own field.
Looking into the stands or out behind the fence during the game and seeing familiar faces from the weight room, or other sporting teams, gives us a reassuring sense of comfort and makes us realize how lucky we are to be a part of such a tight knit community here at BU.
Home field advantage is real, which is why we try getting everyone we know to come out and support BU softball by supporting all of the other BU athletic teams whenever we get a chance.
Speaking of which, two things:
First, BU softball is expecting loads of fans this week as we try and extend our six-game winning streak.
And second, SAVE BU WRESTLING. They are the heart and soul of BU Athletics.