The crowd screams as the Woodmen football team rushes down the field seconds away from the end of the game.
“The fan section doing the rollercoaster is the best part. One of my favorite moments was also when we crowd surfed a freshman. It’s just a good energy and environment that I really enjoy.” Sophomore Lucie Campbell said.
Every home game has a theme, which students always get into.
“I think it lets the fans have a place to themselves and not annoy the parents. It’s also fun to get really into the theme, and it’s cool to see what other people do. I remember going to a game where the theme was camo, and it was so cool to see everyone dress up, even the people who usually wouldn’t wear anything like that,” sophomore Marissa Addison said.
Friday night games also give students a chance to spend time with peers outside of school.
“It’s also really nice that I can see people I normally wouldn’t see outside of school. It gives me more of an idea of what people are like and makes me feel bonded with my classmates. We also can talk to people in different grades or who we don’t have any class with,” Addison said.
The cheerleaders are an important part of the experience. Their most popular cheers are the interactive ones, where the crowd can shout and dance with them.
“It’s always cool to see fans paying attention to what’s going on instead of just ignoring us. It makes us feel appreciated,” sophomore Tori Rugenstein, cheerleader, said.
The fan section is also a help to the cheerleaders. Cheering to an empty or boring crowd can seem pointless, but the excitement of the fan section makes it worthwhile to cheer. The fans make the cheerleaders feel comfortable and supported during their time in front of the stands.
“When they’re interacting with us, it makes us feel more comfortable cheering. We’re more hyped up, and more confident in what we’re doing. You know you’re not cheering to an empty crowd and that they’re actually listening to you,” Rugenstein said.
The energy of the fans can also influence the players. The sport requires a lot of energy. Support from their peers can help motivate them to try their best.
“I don’t think it affects the way they play because they’re so zoned into the game. They do appreciate the energy, though. It makes them feel appreciated as players. They can definitely get discouraged when they’re putting in so much effort and feel like they aren’t getting anything out of it, but people recognizing their work makes it feel more worth it,” junior Katie Henderson, team manager, said.
Football is a sport that requires constant practice and focus. Having friends who are supportive of you is a strong source of encouragement.
“Knowing that their friends are rooting for them kind of helps encourage them to continue, I think. They can get into their own heads a lot, but it’s good that they have people to support them,” Henderson said.