Falcon nation returns to cage
Grace Tadajweski l Editor-In-Chief
As fall sports transition to winter sports, Falcon Nation also moves inside where the presence of four walls far from hinders their chants.
Student section leaders hope to carryover the student section’s football fans into basketball and hockey supporters after Falcon Nation produced its largest presence at football games.
Reflecting on the fall season, student section leaders, Paige Bucher, Ryan Glover, Malachai Kinlaw, Colden Rambler, and Lily Young, share similar feelings regarding Falcon Nation.
“I thought we were doing an exceptional job especially with the expectations that we had incorporating our new program as well,” said Kinlaw. “We definitely were better than expected, and we got a lot of attention from parents and other schools.”
Kinlaw attributed the attention that the student section received as an effect of its strong energy and reportedly high numbers of 300-400 students.
“I think the student section this fall was pretty successful,” said Young. “We got a lot of new faces to come out for games, and I think everybody had a good time. As a leader, that’s all we can hope for.”
The student section leaders plan themes, organize pregame events, and post on social media. However, in the stands, the group simply helps to foster an excited and positive atmosphere.
“I thought my leadership was pretty good,” said Bucher. “Malachai and Colden lead the chants, so Lily and I just make sure people are loud and are having a fun time.”
From a different standpoint, Glover has been able to perceive Falcon Nation’s presence from on the field during football and soccer games. He too vouches that the leadership was good.
“Malachi Kinlaw has been doing a good job of leading everyone,” said Glover. “Sometimes, he might get a little out of hand, but we do a good job of bringing him back in.”
Likewise, senior Bryce Culp stated that the leaders did a great job, and he especially enjoyed the tailgates. However, Culp acknowledged that the student section seemed to lack cohesiveness at times due to the barrier between the front rows and back rows.
“I think we had a hard time bringing the entire student section together to get anything running,” said Culp. “Chants were hard to get everyone involved in.”
Culp’s views have not gone unnoticed as Rambler’s goals align with Culp’s views.
“My goals are for us as a student section to become louder and more in sync with one another,” said Rambler.
With the move to indoors, the student section leaders have plans to incorporate new chants. Rambler even noted that he acquired some from leaders in previous years.
“One way I aim to improve, for one, is doing a lot more chants during the whole game, win or lose because even when we're losing, we still want to have fun, so people don't leave,” said Glover. “Another spot we want to improve is having a variety of chants.”
Because of the close nature of the stands to the playing arenas in basketball and hockey, Young hopes to incorporate more chants that relate to the players. Not only is the student section closer to the players, but it is also closer to the cheerleaders, so there is more opportunity for spirit collaboration there.
“I’m hoping we can get more people involved in the games,” said Young. “It’s awesome to get people there, so now the next step is getting everyone active and participating in chants and celebrations we do during the games.”
Along with new chants, the leaders plan to release a set list of fresh themes before the start of games in the winter sports season. Posting the schedule of themes on the Falcon Nation Instagram ahead of time allows students to prepare and ‘go all out’ if they are interested while ensuring that the student section leaders have everything planned prior.
“There are a lot more games for basketball than football, so it is harder to come up with themes for each game,” said Bucher. “But we do have a lot more ideas.”
Emphasizing group input, Kinlaw stated that to get new theme ideas, the student section leaders turned to Pep Club members. Through a poll, the group gathered ideas that the school has never done before.
“Honestly, I'm most excited that I can actually get to be the Falcon now,” said Glover. “In the fall, I only got to be in the student section for sports that didn't have this big of a student section, and now I can be in the basketball student section where we have over 100 kids, and it will be loud and fun.”
While others look forward to sporting new themes, Glover looks forward to flaunting the Falcon suit. Being both a student section leader and the Falcon will allow Glover to get the Falcon more involved in the student section as a whole.
“I hope to get an even bigger student section for games than we did for football,” said Bucher.
Bucher is most looking forward to attending basketball games. The gym amplifies Falcon Nation to sound much louder than normal, according to Bucher.
“I aim to improve on the atmosphere heading into the winter season,” said Rambler.
Rambler is most excited for games to take place indoors. He is particularly anticipating basketball games as he enjoys watching and cheering on this sport.
“Most people go to the boys’ games and forget the girls’,” said Bucher. “I want to make sure we show them our support as well.”
The first girls’ basketball game is scheduled for Dec. 6 while the boys’ first game is scheduled for Dec. 28. The student section leaders hope to add more game time rituals and traditions to basketball games.
“Basketball always gets a pretty big turnout on the boys’ side, so now we’re going to push for more attendance at hockey and girls’ basketball as well,” said Young. “We want every sport to feel support from the student section though, so we will give shout-outs to swimming, bowling, etc. as the season goes on.”
Glover feels similarly to Young, for he hopes to bring school energy to the sports that do not normally have a student section. Compared to the fall, the winter season hosts far less sports with just basketball, swimming, wrestling, hockey, and competition cheer taking place during the colder months.
“My main goal is to boost school spirit at other school events like other sports like swimming and wrestling because I don't think wrestling has ever had a student section,” said Glover. “That's definitely my goal as a leader.”
Working in a positive feedback loop, fans and players both contribute to the Falcon Nation atmosphere.
“I just hope that we can already get even further out there,” said Kinlaw. “I want this to become something that people, us as well, look forward to seeing. (I want others to) want to see us (Falcon Nation) be our own show.”
Kinlaw aims to distinguish Falcon Nation from other student sections across the state by turning Falcon Nation’s environment into an eye-catching show. Kinlaw also stated that ABC 27 and Lebanon Daily News both recognized the student section’s surprising qualities in the football season.
“My only goals for the season are to continue to build a positive and fun culture for the students at Cedar Crest, both in the section and the athletes that we support, that can be carried on after we, the other leaders and I, graduate,” said Young.