Thursday, December 22, 2016

#GoHawks – student section revs up teams

The student section cheering at Homecoming.

In Hamilton, sports are an eminent part of our community. If you attend a football or basketball game on a Friday night, you will no doubt see a larger part of the community. No, it’s not just students and parents of the players, but people who come just to support the Hawkeyes in their battle of the night.

Other than the actual game that is taking place, the student section is the biggest thing going on. The students at Hamilton High and some middle schoolers attend the game and sit in an area called the student section. Over the past couple of years, the student section has become one of the most high-energy areas to go. The section is filled with students screaming and cheering, dressed up in crazy clothes that fit the ‘theme’ of the night.

“The purpose of a student section is to support, encourage and motivate our athletic teams.  We are a community school and one of the things that brings that community together is showing up to support each other,” Athletic director Jerry Haggerty said. “It would be awesome if there were great support for all of our student activities, not just athletics.  We should be there to support our bands, choirs, theater, etc.”

Many other teachers, coaches, and students at Hamilton High agree with Haggerty, but Coach Chad Miller had something else to say.

“I don’t know about the purpose of the student section. I don’t like the idea that the student section is there FOR the football team. The football team is there FOR the student body and the school. With that, if we’re all pulling together, then I guess I’d say that the student section is an extension of the team and part of what makes us the Hawkeyes,” Coach Miller said. “It was awesome to see our student section totally into the game! I was sent a photograph on Saturday morning of our student section with several of them throwing up the fins and hanging over the fence. It was really powerful! I really do think it impacts the players and that they feel that support.”

The student section is a powerful tool. It helps the players out when they know everyone is there supporting them. It weakens the other team as well.

“I do think that the players notice the student section. I know that when the student section is loud and involved in the game, it definitely helps the players out,” math teacher and football coach Coach Conor Lefere said. “It can also help our team because if they are loud when the opponent is trying to communicate, it can make it difficult which gives us an advantage.”

Coach Josh Hoppe agreed.

“Seeing the stands packed for Homecoming was awesome. I’m sure it helped to pump the players up. When things started to go our way in the second half having the student section behind us made it more difficult for HC to withstand our surge.”

“I think the student section plays a huge role for me,” junior Dylan Buresh said, “because when I can hear them cheering it makes me want to play a little bit harder for them.”

Student sections have come a long way over the years. Principal Doug Braschler says that student sections used to be very bland and unimaginative. They followed whatever the cheerleaders did.

“Give me and H…H. Give me an A…A etc,” Mr. Braschler explained.

Mr. Braschler said that because of what kids are seeing on TV with the in-your-face cheering, student sections have lost touch with the main goal of supporting your school. Student sections have become rude, obnoxious, and anti-sportsmanlike groups.

“They try to out-do each other and show each other up rather that focusing on and supporting their own school mates,” Braschler said. “I have always said for years, “Scream your head off for us and ignore the negative cheers. Keep sportsmanship and school pride together, don’t separate them.”

Students aren’t always focused on the main goal.

“I think kids come to the game to socialize, not for the purpose of watching the boys play,” senior Brogan McMahon said.

“While we often times have great student attendance, I don’t think we are really “tuned in” and paying attention to what is happening in the game,” Mr. Jerry Haggerty said. “Do we see what is happening and get excited and cheer at important times when our players could use the cheers to motivate them?”

Although, compared to other years, this year the student section has been more positive and active according to Mr. Haggerty.

“This year’s student section at football has been better,” he added. “While we haven’t had great student attendance, we have been more vocal.  I love that we are working together and cheering with our cheerleaders this year.  The student section is more active and appears to be having more fun.

“Let’s keep it up,” Mr. Haggerty said. “I would also like to acknowledge a small group of guys who have been showing up for volleyball.  Our guys are now getting a bit more vocal and are cheering for and celebrating the positive plays that our girls are making on the floor.  It is fun to see us get pumped up about the big kills and get some energy going at critical times in a match.”

He is hoping Hawkeye fans bring the same energy and favorite cheers to basketball season as well as other sports and activities this upcoming winter season.

 

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