Guest Column: How can the student section improve?

Senior Peter Nguyen shares his thoughts


Sheridan Allen

Senior Peter Nguyen is the host of this year’s pep rallies.

Peter Nguyen, Guest

Senior Peter Nguyen, the student council president shares his views on the student section and how to improve it in this guest column. 

If you’ve ever attended one of football’s home games and stood in the student section, you’ll know how loud and proud we can get. By that, I mean we’re pretty quiet until a touchdown or when junior Tre Byrd has the ball. We could be one of the best student sections in the state, but we just aren’t that spirited about most of our home games. 

In all seriousness, the student section is pretty hype, but I don’t think we’re doing enough. Just a few weeks ago, during our game versus the Dumas Demons, their visitor’s side, consisting of a handful of people who had made the grueling four-and-a-half-hour drive, was twice as loud as the entire home side, students and adults included. I think it’s time that we do more.

Then again, it’s not totally our fault. The loudspeakers at our home games aren’t used much during dead times between plays, and very rarely do they cater to the students. Few can remember when they would blast “Sweet Caroline,” and the student section would nearly break the stands. More often than not, the only thing on the loudspeakers that will get the student section going would be the “Raider 1st Down” announcement, and even that can’t do much in terms of noise. If we want to be loud, then we have to have the school right there with us. 

Jenny Claus
Senior Mia Bowman cheers for her team.

However, ever since the prohibition on speakers in the student section started getting enforced, the deafening silence has become overpowering. Unfortunately, this year’s band is understandably a little lighter on the banger stand tunes at the games because of competition, but I will give them props for their rendition of “Hawaii Five-0.” (We do miss “Seven Nation Army” dearly). Even at our highest points in our games last year, the band’s cheering could be heard over the entire student section, and sometimes even loud enough to interrupt the radio announcer in the press box. The band would be loud enough to shake the stands, and you could feel the drumline throughout the whole stadium.

Down on the field, the cheerleaders are at a disadvantage as well – their voices can only reach up to about the first three rows of people, and everyone else is left out. If you’re not standing in the first three-to-four rows, the only thing you’ll hear from the cheerleaders are, “Hey… hold… cup…”, and before you realize what they’re saying, everyone starts jumping around. But don’t worry, if you’re jumping around the highest, you’ll get a $50 dollar gift card in the fourth quarter. Plus, the first three rows are populated by seniors and the few juniors and sophomores who don’t know the “unspoken rule” of the student section. For those of you that are new to this, the student section is divided into classes, with the first few rows designated for the graduating seniors, behind them the juniors, sophomores and so on. 

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However, as “One Family, One Team,” we are still at fault. There are the sophomores who infringe on senior land in those first few rows, the juniors who don’t even bother to show up before the halftime show (and then ask to be in the first row) and the seniors who would prefer to take off their shirts and swing them around to generate wind, rather than let the guy with the fans (Hey, that’s me!) get close to them. All of these eliminate the hype and replace it with anger.

But most importantly, what’s our fault is that we’re simply unenthusiastic about every team except for Rider-Old High, the rivalry game where we’ve out-cheered the Coyotes for four years in a row now. If only we could hold the same energy against teams like Abilene Wylie and Lubbock Cooper just as we do against Old High. 

So, I think it’s time to bring back the roar in the student section for every game. Who cares if you’re jumping around too much, calling it “cringe?” We want everyone to come out and cheer with your classmates in the stands, and make your own chants, not limited to “You can’t do that!” and chanting the name of the opposing wide receiver to make him nervous. After all, if the opposing team can’t hear the calls over the ruckus, we’ve already won. Look: There’s only a finite number of football games that we’ll ever attend as students, and I think it’s time that we let loose and have some fun before we get older and forget about our high school experience.

After all, we’re here to be (equipped for success after high school) loyal supporters of our Rider Raiders, and as the alma mater says, “Stand upright is our cry.” It’s time, y’all. Let’s stand up, let’s own our side of the stadium and let’s be Raiders.