How Does WHS Spirit Compare To Other Schools’?

How Does WHS Spirit Compare To Other Schools'?

Peter Hoegler

It doesn’t matter the sporting event–football, soccer,  hockey, basketball–Walpole fans have always been embarrassed. Until now.

At Walpole High, we treat our football games like social events. There’s no other way to put it. Opposing teams walk on Turco Field and are just not intimidated by the distracted WHS students fiddling with their phones or talking to their classmates. Every year, Student Council organizes the Spirit Week and Pep Rally to get the student body excited for the big Walpole vs. Norwood football game, and every year, students come and don’t actually cheer on the sidelines. Instead, our “fans” walk around the complex and wait in the 20-minute food line to pass the time.

But now Dave St. Martin, Vice Principal William Hahn, and StuCo have teemed up to create the Brigade: the new, organized student pride section at Walpole High.

“We need more student support at sporting events,” said St. Martin at the official Brigade meeting on Thursday, October 17. “There are a lot of people at this school who want to show school spirit but are too hesitant. We think this organized fan section will help those kids break out of their shell.”

St. Martin and Hahn are mimicking their course of action at Catholic Memorial, where they worked previously. Before they created the fan section, CM had the same problem as WHS: they lacked school spirit did not get much attendance at sporting events. Now, the CM students’ create havoc when any opposing team from the Catholic Conference takes a step on their campus.

Westwood’s Den cheers on their football team.

Westwood High also has a similar fan section, which they call “The Den”. A few years ago, a few faculty members and a student wanted to create an organized fan section; now almost every student at the school takes part in The Den.

There is one student who is the captain of the Den, and he often times tweets out what the theme of the next game will be. One week ago, they had a “tiki tailgate” where $2 could get you unlimited hot dogs and hamburgers. For Westwood Football’s big tilt against Ashland, the Den had a beach/ tropical night in which students wore summer attire and threw beach balls around in the stands.

But the Den does not just go to Football games. Last week, student aficionados walked with the Westwood golf team and cheered on their classmates as they took on rival Medfield. The Den goes to as many home games and matches as possible, regardless of the sport or record.

Throughout the state, schools are imitating the same course of action as Westwood, establishing organized fan section clubs. The Brigade is one of 20 official spirit clubs in the state that are on Twitter, and all of them have 200 followers or more. The Medfield SuperFans, for example, often go to Volleyball and Soccer games to create “the Blue Sea”. Braintree’s “Wamp Nation” –the biggest fan club in the Bay State League–has this Twitter bio: “No matter if it’s at the stadium, rink, gym, or ballpark, we will beat you and we will out chirp you.” Wamp Nation is looking to actuate their Boys Soccer team into the State Tournament by creating an intimidating atmosphere at their home field.

“We need to imitate these other high school fan section clubs,” said St. Martin. “We think that with the recent success at the football game against Norwood, the Brigade will be big.”

The Brigade will finally give WHS fans a role at sporting events, and hopefully, some respect around the league.