The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

Almost gameday: Social media’s impact on high school sports

Interviews with players, entertaining and funny posts, game and score updates. All this and more is available for a high school sports fan on a single Instagram page.
For example, one popular feature that is growing on student-run social media accounts is the “almost Friday” or “almost gameday” posts. A way to showcase team humor and spirit, as well as keep up with a growing trend, the posts often display photos sent in by students that show themselves doing various activities with a comedic twist.
In addition to humorous posts and keeping up with popular trends, the various social media accounts that the student athletes themselves run serve as informational spaces too. While not always conveyed in such a formal manner as sites like MaxPreps or NFHS, event results and scores are often posted on the pages, along with messages to get students excited for future match-ups.

Sam Calsin: Taking up the mantle
“I think it’s a really smart way to get people to come out to the games,” senior Sam Calsin, a two-year pitcher for the varsity baseball team, said.
Sam Calsin, who is the newest owner of the team’s Instagram page after alumni Tyler DeFranco, said, “Other than that, for the people at the school, it makes it more personable for the teams seeing the players at practice or having a good time.”
While most sports pages are not directly affiliated with the school they represent, it is usually student athletes who run the accounts.
Although some criticize team accounts for building up rivalries, Sam Calsin said, “after the game, mostly everything ends and people just go on to the next matchup.”

Senior Sam Calsin, a pitcher for the varsity baseball team, manages their Instagram page and uploads themed photos and videos both for their fans and themselves. He said that the Instagram account “is super helpful to tell [people] what the theme for [a] game will be and helps gain support for the team.” (Haiden Lui)

Bella Mazza: Setting the bar
Senior Bella Mazza, a member of the girls gymnastics team, believes that these pages “have a positive effect on high school sports.”
Mazza, who has been doing gymnastics for 12 years, also said that it’s “fun to see what other teams are doing and how they’re doing at their meets.”
At any given point in the school year, there might be multiple pages operating for various sports. For example, winter sees a spike in content for girls gymnastics, spring has baseball and so on. In addition to pages for football and girls volleyball, the fall has its own Instagram account for boys cross-country, a team led by Coach Stuart Mendelsohn.

Senior Bella Mazza, who has done gymnastics for 12 years, runs the girls gymnastics Instagram page and uploads content such as the popular “Almost Friday” posts, which she said, “shows our personality as a team. I like watching all the hype videos that other teams make. It really shows all the hard work people put in throughout the season.” (Haiden Lui)

Will Solomon: Two types of running
Senior Will Solomon, a four-year runner for the team and one of the page’s owners, said that he believes the pages are “actually a very cool thing because it allows your team to have more of a creative image than just being the sport.”
Solomon, who ran a 19:37.91 three-mile race at the North Suburban Conference (NSC) Championship, also said “everyone on the team enjoys it. They always love when the posts go up and it helps team morale.”

Senior Will Solomon, a four-year runner for the cross country team, manages their Instagram page and posts content that includes humorous photos and highlights of their team members. Examples of such posts include the “Almost Friday” trend, all of which he said, “allow [the] team to have more of a creative image.” (Haiden Lui)

Elise Nowicki: Junior in a seniors’ world
While many of the pages are run by seniors, depending on the sport, students from other grades may run the pages as well. Junior Elise Nowicki, a three-year girls diving team member, runs their team’s Instagram account.
“I always try to make it fun, try to get people to come to meets,” Nowicki said. “Usually diving isn’t the biggest people attracter at school because it’s kind of small and not many people know we have a diving team. But I’m always trying to be like ‘be there and support your team.’”

Junior Elise Nowicki, a three-year member of the girls diving team, runs their Instagram page and posts funny photos of their team or celebratory images of specific team members. She said the posts “are funny and exciting to get people to support [the] team.” (Haiden Lui)

Henry Calsin: Managing the “dream team”
Henry Calsin, in addition to playing basketball for the past 15 years, is starting his second season on varsity this year. His presence on the team is both physical and digital, as he now manages the boys basketball team’s Instagram account.
“I think it’s good for the sports,” Henry Calsin said, “because I think it definitely lets students know when the events are, when there’s a basketball game, a volleyball game, something like that.”
While social media accounts must be run with a lot of care and attention, they also represent a unique way to show off school spirit. Several local high schools now have full-time fan pages or accounts for their schools, as well as smaller accounts relating to different sports teams. While school rivalries and spirit can grow significantly, so too does the care and attention dedicated to running these pages.
“You have to make sure you have the right people running them,” Henry Calsin said. “You don’t want to be irresponsible.”
Social media accounts now represent an elevated way for teams to take their image to the next level. With the right people running them, such as Henry and the basketball page, dubbed “Dream Team Hoops,” teams can enjoy success outside of their match-ups as well.

Senior Henry Calsin, in his second year on varsity, oversees the boys basketball Instagram page, posting highlights and updates such as the 66-47 away win over the Carmel Corsairs on Nov. 30. Henry Calsin, who has been playing since the age of three, said, “just like being an athlete, you represent the program with whatever you do. And I think social media accounts are just an extension of that. So you want to make sure you represent your team and your teammates well.” (Haiden Lui)

Ultimately, sports are a popular area of entertainment that has been constantly evolving. At the high school level, where emphasis is placed on spectacle and skill alike, engagement and communication between teams and their fans is an important area.
When scrolling on Snapchat, one may notice everybody posting about the next hockey game. Or one may see their school’s Instagram page celebrating a volleyball player. Sam Calsin, Henry Calsin, Mazza, Solomon and Nowicki are just some of the athletes that represent how high school sports teams are cashing in on the long-standing success of social media.

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