St. Martin hopes to improve School Spirit with Super Fan Group

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The “HillToppers”, pictured behind the Rebel’s senior pitcher.

Justin Rouhana

The "HillToppers", pictured behind the Rebel's senior pitcher.
The “HillToppers”, pictured behind the Rebel’s senior pitcher.

 

 

Walpole High School is known throughout the Bay State League for being a power house when it comes to athletics. Our football team is known state wide, our baseball team is ranked top 10 in the state and our field hockey team usually goes undefeated in the regular season. With great athletic success usually comes strong school spirit; however, one thing you will notice, if you attend any of these team’s games, is that the majority of the students in the stands are not actually watching the game. Most students could not even recap for their friends arriving what had happened in the last five minutes of the game.

Math teacher and Boys Basketball Head Coach Dave St. Martin wants to change that: he wants a Rebel Super Fan Group.

When Mr. St. Martin’s basketball team played Hingham on February 28, they walked into a gym packed with nothing but red and white t-shirts. They played the game with quite a few fans from Walpole in the stands, but even the most spirited of Walpole fans could not compete with the overall ruckus of the Harbormen fans. The Hingham fans rallied behind their team, which came back from the 16 point fourth quarter deficit to eventually win the game by one point. Mr. St. Martin tweeted after the game a few nights later, “Still can’t get over Thursday night’s loss. Thought my young squad could make a run this year. Hingham fans and team were great. Stings.”

He commended the Hingham fans for their support: “They were loud, positive, organized and had fun.”

Mr. St. Martin wants to replicate that sense of pride amongst Walpole High students for their sports teams. He wants to create a strong fan base that other students can feed off of at sporting events and rally behind our school’s teams, even in the face of adversity. St. Martin believes that one does not have to be an athlete or on a team to go to any game; he believes that one should have school spirit and go to the games to cheer on your school no matter what: “It makes the events fun to go to,” he said.

This season, our baseball team was seeded number one for the Division One South Sectional tournament. Their coach, athletic director Coach Tompkins, has a record with more than 500 team wins. Even though fans and the community have rallied around the Tompkins Strong, many students do not show as much support for the team as they should. There are a few very loyal die hard fans known as “The Hilltoppers”; however, if there is a game during the week, it’s a rare occurrence to see many “Hilltoppers” or other fans in the stands or on their home hill.

When the Rebels played against Wellesley during hockey season, Boys Hockey had a dismal amount of fans in the stands. In a game which they won by a score of 4-2, the Rebels had only a handful of loyal hockey fans cheering them on. Keep in mind that this was one of the biggest games of the season; they clinched a spot in the playoffs with the win.

Mr. St. Martin went to Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, teaching there. “CM had a lot of school spirit and the kids had a blast at the games,” he said. Mr. St. Martin wants to get students to organize themselves and go to games and cheer for their school’s teams. He believes that even when our school has many students in attendance of a sporting event, “they don’t know how to cheer, so they just hang out.”

Most students at Walpole High attend sporting events strictly as a social event, the majority of the time not even paying attention to the game unless something exciting happens. They lose hope if the score is run up against Walpole. Some even leave, simply abandoning not just their team, but the pride they have in their school.

In order to fix this, St. Martin wants to create a “Super Fan” group. He wants to show the students who join how to cheer and be organized together. “We would have one assembly in the auditorium, watch a few videos and practice a few cheers,” he said. However, St. Martin does want it to be student driven. He has discovered that other schools have groups of their own, such as “The Den” in Westwood. They have Twitter pages and Facebook pages on which they tell each other what to wear for a color scheme and where to sit at the event to be all together. He would like to create the group in cooperation with other teachers such as Conor Cashman, Michael Alan, and Ms. Kerry McMenimen, who all advocate for student groups in our school.

Mr. St. Martin is actually surprised at the lack of fan support. He thinks that our school and students have spirit already; they just need help showing it. Mr. St. Martin said, “Lately kids are not participating or going to events. We need to bring them back to at least attending.” Mr. St. Martin heard of “Rebel Pride” when he first began teaching at Walpole High, and he wants to see more of it. “We can’t let our rival schools like Norwood and Natick be louder than us at games,” he said.

Students should attend the events because they have pride in their teams and school. Instead of going to the event to meet up with friends and sit in the stands to talk about what happened in school that day, perhaps they should dress in their school colors and watch the game. Walpole High needs to create a stronger fan base which other students can join to create a section of the stands that shows tremendous  school pride. St. Martin challenges the class of 2014, “Step up, you are only a senior once. How do you want your senior year to be remembered?”  Mr. St. Martin needs help inwith a name for the superfan group and would like anyone with any ideas at all or who would like to join to tweet him @coachstmartin. You can email him as well at [email protected]