Stand up and let them hear you "Howl"

Some Arkansas State fans may not want to stand up during a game and cheer. One former Arkansas State University player knows how important it is to have fan support. Go "Inside" this column by former Arkansas State Football player Bo Mitchell, don't be surprised to see Mitchell standing up for his team this Saturday helping the Red Wolves to a victory and possible Sun Belt Championship.

In writing my first column for AStateNation.com I wanted to focus on the mindset of fans before they attend this game and encourage our hard core fans to promote an electric atmosphere over attendance.

So much of life revolves around an attitude and a mindset. Athletes train and condition to always have the proper mindset when approaching a sporting event, but too many of them don't apply it to everything in life and not just sports. Coach Freeze has his team focus on what he calls the ‘it' factor. Whatever ‘it' is will be done correctly and passionately above all else.

This week I want to give our fan base an ‘it.' Our ‘it' as we head into the Louisiana game isn't about boosting attendance. ‘It' is about creating an atmosphere that is unmatched in the Sun Belt.

Whether it's standing up cheering our team, yelling to the top of our lungs or making sure that ULL's quarterback has a hard time hearing his snap counts.

Attitude is contagious and people will unknowingly flock to a positive extreme. Being a player, fan, official, and director of athletics at many different levels I can tell you that the most enjoyable experience for ALL involved is an intense passionate crowd. Do not confuse that with a packed crowd.

Your ‘it' for this game is to focus on creating disruption in the Louisiana offense by being two notches louder than you have been at any point in the past. This is the first home game in a generation that we have the chance to clinch a championship by winning. I think a game like this deserves an all-out effort from everyone in the stands.

That takes us to the second part of what I want to talk about. Getting butts in the seats by giving people tickets and teaching them the proper mindset. Before agreeing to give tickets to people this week I want you to put the condition on the tickets that they must be willing to get up off their feet and let the team hear you howl.

Visualization through vocalization is a powerful lesson I've learned in sports that has translated to many aspects of life and I want everyone to apply it here. Have them vocalize to you that they will cheer and make noise and become part of a championship atmosphere. Don't over set the expectations for a newbie either.

Say something to the effect of "If I'm going to give you these tickets I need to know that you are going to help us win by getting behind the team this weekend. We may not fill the stadium up this week, but every fan there will be cheering their rear ends off."

Now that person, even if they weren't 100% committed when they vocalized to you that they would be there to help, is expecting to see people on their feet supporting the Red Wolves.

It will be disappointing if the stadium isn't full, and even more disappointing if fans aren't willing to cheer on their Red Wolves to a conference championship.

The positive energy created at the stadium combined with winning will be enough of a draw over time to continue to build attendance by growing the right type of fan.

These will be fans that are more loyal because they are more emotionally attached to the game because they are part of helping the team win and enjoy the atmosphere and energy created by an intense group of people supporting their team. Make ‘it' happen this weekend and we will continue to build from here.

Be willing to stand up and let the Red Wolf Football team hear you howl, be the 12th man for Saturday's game.

This team needs you. They deserve a full house and they deserve a fan base that is willing to get off their butts and stand on their feet for their team.

Publisher's Note: Bo Mitchell is a former Arkansas State University Football player (played for Joe Hollis and Steve Roberts) and is a season ticket holder for the Red Wolves.