Five years ago, if you were to attend a volleyball game or water polo match at my high school, parents and crickets would fill the stands. There was a complete lack of peer support for the less mainstream activities. Friday night football games -- much like an amateur season of Friday Night Lights, though, were always packed. That's expected in American culture, but what about my school's world-ranked robotics team? How many students turned out for their events? It was time to even the playing field.
An 180˚ turn for the better was taken as a new club was born: FANS. FANS, or Following Activities N' Sports, has its club members go around to various games and activities to support and cheer classmates on. It creates a cohesive environment in which students feel accepted and included -- something that during the rocky high school years is definitely a positive, relieving thing to have.
As a rather average teenage girl, I know that without FANS, the thought of watching boys I wasn't particularly friendly with get sweaty running around a track for a few hours on a Saturday sounded about as appealing as scrubbing a bathroom floor. As the club enveloped me in its tidal wave of popularity, this no longer seemed like such a horrible task. I've come to realize that watching boys get sweaty rarely coincides with misery... may I remind you I am a teenage girl.
After seeing a video of Taylor University's Silent Night, FANS leaders decided that a Silent Night of our own would be a perfect tradition at our high school. During the rival basketball game each year, all FANS in the crowd remain dead silent until the eighth point is scored, and then, we all go crazy. I'm talking losing-your-voice and falling-off-bleachers crazy. The electricity in the room, the excitement of being silent, the eruption of cheers after the eighth point, and the smiles plastered on my friends' faces: This is what I will remember from my high school years.
This club that began with eight members and has crept its way up to nearly 400 shouts success. My high school is the recipient of the 2012 Sportsmanship Award, something that should make everyone in the community proud. I strongly believe a version of FANS should be implemented in every high school. The "too cool" mentality once possessed has disappeared; Students of all ages from various ethnic groups and social cliques are intermixed under the common goal of supporting our home team. Everyone deserves to hear fellow students roar on the sidelines after a great play, a song well done, or a debate well-versed. Everyone deserves to have the feeling as if they're in a scene from a movie (i.e. One Tree Hill, A Cinderella Story, Friday Night Lights) while being a part of something so much bigger than the small, insular cliques of high school. Everyone deserves to have a FAN, and everyone deserves to be a FAN.