Sporting events are loud.
In general, it's a good thing. Many athletes feed off the cheers of fans. The more support, the more confidence an athlete has, and the better he or she plays.
That's why we diehard fans, the civilized beings that we are, carry air horns, clappers, megaphones or, in a pinch, two nickels in a bottle. We'll shake the ever-living mess out of them until we (a) win, or (b) get escorted out off the premises by one of Columbia County's finest.
I blame the children.
They love to make noise. It takes very little effort. Many just use their mouth to shriek, scream and perform the occasional fire truck siren impression. As they get older, the noise-making kids become smarter, louder and more public.
Then, one day, the energy-filled little ones realize that at sporting events they're allowed to make noise, even encouraged! So, all of the sudden, we get a bumper crop of cheerleaders, hecklers, whistlers and - achieving a new level of cheering - the Evans baseball student section.
As children grow older, reputation and image trump the need to be loud, until one day when the grown up kid's kid starts playing sports and voila! - dad's got a cowbell at the game. He must be heard, and he must be loud. This sequence of events is how 80 percent of the nation's PA announcers get their start.
During the summer months, there are no football, baseball or basketball games for the noise-maker within us to attend. Now, the Augusta Fireball have come to the rescue.
Every person in attendance at last Sunday's Fireball game got a pair of thundersticks. Imagine the sound of 20 helicopters crash landing in a field of snare drums. That's what Patriots Park sounded like on Father's Day, when more than 300 people were on hand - most smashing their inflated sticks together with all their might to see the Fireball beat the Raleigh Elite 2-0.
If the score was any indication, the noise makers worked. There were a few who tried to squelch the thunderous cheering (moms with headaches), but no one could hear them.
The thundersticks will be offered to all fans at every Fireball home game through the rest of the season. The next game, July 2 vs. the Nashville Metros, will start at 7 p.m. at Patriots Park.
The noise-making opportunity alone is worth the price of admission.
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