The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

It’s time to return to packing the stands, Caravan fans

Ellie Menke (Mount Carmel Social Media)
Many MC students came out to support the varsity football team when they played Wendell Phillips Academy in 2021. The student section needs to return to this level of dedication to MC athletics.

When the lights turn on at Barda-Dowling Stadium on a Friday night, one of the first places I look at is our student section. 

Back when I was a freshman in the fall of 2021, every home football game and most home basketball games would have a student section full of energetic kids. In the past two years, this energy and school spirit has faded away. 

Students stopped going to games even though the football program won two state championships and the basketball team is one of, if not the best, teams in the Chicago Catholic League. 

Friday nights are meant to be spent under the lights or in the gym. Supporting our brothers by going to their games is what Mount Carmel stands for, and cheering on one’s peers is part of what the high school experience is supposed to be. 

It’s time to rejuvenate our school spirit and pack the stands because our sports teams are playing exceptionally well, and the experience of watching a game online is drastically different from watching it in person.

Mount Carmel is known for its athletic programs, and with 28 state championships in six different sports, it’s safe to say that athletic success is expected at MC. What was always also expected was a student section that matched the commitment and energy of the athletes of the field and court.

Just recently, as the Caravan football team won back-to-back state championships, some of the home games had virtually empty student sections. What’s even worse is that a handful of opponents had better student sections than we did, even though it was an away game for them. This while the varsity football team has done nothing less than win every home game in the past two seasons, and the varsity hoops team hasn’t lost in the Cacciatore Gym in almost two calendar years. The last team to beat the Caravan at home twenty-three months ago? The St. Ignatius Wolfpack, whom MC just so happens to play in the Cacciatore Gym this Friday night.

Not only are students who opt not to watch the Caravan from the stands taking for granted just how great some of our teams at MC are, but they’re also not taking advantage of the incredible atmosphere we can and should have at games. 

Going to school on a Friday and getting ready to go to a game that night is one of the many experiences high school students should enjoy. Making memories with your friends and having that sense of comradery is something important that students should take part in. 

“As the athletic director I want to see our stands packed,” said MC Athletic Director and head basketball coach Mr. Phil Segroves. “No one has a gameday experience like us.”

Students should take advantage of the fact that the football field and gym on campus are great not just because of the teams that play on them, but because of the atmosphere alone.

Games are supposed to be energetic. They’re supposed to be loud and have a lot of school spirit. Players can try to be as loud and energetic as they want, but it’s up to the fans and mainly the student section to really bring the enthusiasm needed for high school sports. 

Yes, MC’s home games get broadcast live on the Caravan Media YouTube channel, and as the play-by-play voice of those games, I appreciate everyone who tunes in. But watching a sporting event online is completely different than watching one in person. Going to the ballpark to see the White Sox or Cubs on a hot summer day or watching the Bulls or Blackhawks in the United Center are better experiences than just sitting at home and watching the games there. 

“I feel like there’s a million reasons to go to the game,” said senior Timmy Harrigan. “Making excuses just isn’t valid because we know going to the games is a good time.”

One of those excuses Harrigan is referring to is the fact that some people might not have a ride to the game. However, if more upperclassmen were to go more often, this wouldn’t be an issue. 

Harrigan is a member of Student Council and said he tries to reach out to underclassmen and see if they need a ride to any of the home football games. 

“I always try to fill up my minivan and see if my friends are going,” said Harrigan.  “There’s a way to get to the game. I think we lost a little bit of our school spirit because people started making excuses.” 

Being at the game and supporting your classmates who are on the field or court gives them a competitive edge. 

“Having our student body at games is extremely important,” said Mr. Segroves. “I cannot tell you how amped up the basketball team was last year when we played St. Rita.”

Every home game should have the presence and energy we see in that video. Imagine if everyone who went to that game against St. Rita last year just stayed home and watched it on their phones.

Not only are students missing out on going to a game with their friends in which they get to watch two very good teams, but they’re missing out on having the opportunity to support their classmates and watch their brothers represent MC on the field and court. Staying at home and watching the game means students will only be missing out on a great experience. 

Mount Carmel students are known for being energetic and involved in various sports and activities. By not going to games, students are failing to keep school spirit at a high. 

“It’s not the best feeling in the world,” said Student Council President and varsity football kicker Louie Chappeto, regarding what it feels like to play in a game without seeing his MC brothers packing the stands. “I understand why some guys might not go, but I feel like we need more kids to come out.”

Embracing our school spirit regardless of the opponent shouldn’t be something students have to force themselves to do. The norm should be that everyone is going to the game unless they absolutely can’t make it. That’s what it used to be, and that’s what it should be like now. 

“It’s time for upperclassmen to step up,” said junior Leonard Siegal. “We need to show underclassmen what it was like in past years and set an example for what our student sections should look like.”

I urge Student Council and upperclassmen to get the word out there about attending home games. They need to find strength in numbers and then bring those kids to the games to show them what the Caravan in-game experience should look like. 

Most underclassmen have not received that nudging and motivation to attend home games, which current juniors and seniors should try to bring back. 

Mount Carmel has some of the best teams in the state, which means it shouldn’t even be a question if we have a lively, packed student section or not. With there being more basketball home games this season, including the matchup against St. Ignatius this Friday night, I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing more students at the games supporting their classmates. After all, that’s truly what the MC brotherhood is all about.

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About the Contributor
Matthew Malloy ‘25
Matthew Malloy ‘25, Staff Writer
Matthew Malloy is a junior at Mount Carmel High School. He resides in the Southside of Chicago in the Beverly neighborhood and attended St. John Fisher Elementary School. Matt is currently a member of the student council, The Merchant, varsity golf team, varsity volleyball team, and the Caravan Media Group in which he is the play by play announcer for all home football and basketball games. As for academics, Matt is in the top 10 for the class of 2025. He first gained interest for journalism by watching ESPN’s College GameDay and reading The Beverly Review. His favorite sports commentators are Dick Vitale, Gus Johnson, Ray Clay, and Jim Nantz. As for favorite sports teams, Matt likes the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Manchester United F.C., Chicago Bears, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and his favorite golfers are John Daly, Bryson DeChambeau, and Collin Morikawa. His favorite band is the Red Hot Chili Peppers and his favorite album is The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. Matt’s favorite movies are Goodfellas and Asteroid City while The Office, Freaks and Geeks, and Friday Night Lights are his favorite TV shows. He and his cousins are continuing the tradition and legacy of the O’Connor family at Mount Carmel as he is the nephew of Dan O’Connor ‘95 and grandson of Frank O’Connor ‘61 and Kathy O’Connor, who works in the spirit store and is an avid supporter of Mount Carmel.