There are few things that are more exciting than the energy of the student section while cheering on your team in a big game. This type of involvement is a huge part of the high school experience. Intense rivalries, pep rallies and dressing up for the Friday Night Lights theme have all been part of RJ Reynolds High School’s history for decades.
Brad Fisher, Athletic Director and teacher at Reynolds since 2005 says that in his time here, the height of school spirit was in the fall of 2009.
“That was the year the football team went undefeated,” Fisher said.
However, like anything, school spirit doesn’t just come out of nowhere. Building it takes time and dedication. Fortunately, here at RJR, we have quite an established student section that we should take pride in. It is the driving force behind all of our school spirit: the Reynolds Rowdies. To say that the Rowdies are legendary is an understatement.
So far this school year, the highlight of the Rowdies performance would have to be the boys soccer state championship semi-final game. The RJR Demons took on the Northwest Guilford Vikings on November 19 at Bolton in a nail-biting game.
Big crowds are helpful for the players and give them extra motivation in a game. That night at the soccer game, the students section was packed; attendance was at an all time high.
“They [the team] get really excited to have fans come cheer them on. When you have support from your fellow students, you tend to raise your game a little bit,” Thomas Moore, head girls and assistant boys soccer coach, said. “We love it as coaches to have them [the Rowdies] support the team.”
At halftime, the Demons led 1-0 but the Vikings came back to tie the game with 15 minutes left. However, with Pleh Reh scoring in the final four minutes, breaking the tie and then a groundbreaking penalty kick save by our goalie, Noah Gottlieb, the Demons advanced to the State Championship game. The Rowdies were electric, the students rushed Gottlieb in celebration, it was a good day to be a RJR Demon.
Unfortunately, with the exception of that one game, this year has been a rough one for the Rowdies. Attendance has been lacking at all other sporting events. This is something that needs to change. School spirit is one thing that sets some schools apart with having an overwhelming amount of energy and support. Whereas other schools seem to fall behind and lack this positive morale.
Certainly, the legacy of the Rowdies is unmatched. No other school in the district has a student section quite like ours.
“I think we [the Rowdies] added an element to our home games that a lot of other schools didn’t have.” Carl Cross, class of 2009, and former Rowdies President said.
However, the reputation of the Rowdies is mainly thanks to presidents like Carl from years past. Our presidents now need to step it up. They have the power to get people excited about showing up to games and they should be thinking of creative ways to do so. It is embarrassing for us when the visiting team’s student section is bigger than ours.
In the past, it seems that the Rowdies presidents were more invested. They worked on unique themes for all the games to keep students interested, and made daily announcements that were funny and informed everyone of the sporting events that were coming up. In turn, this improved attendance at the games. They knew that from the athletes themselves, to the students cheering them on, everyone involved contributes to the excitement and atmosphere of the game. The student body also becomes united when it comes together in support, no matter the score of the game or overall record of the team.
“We weren’t necessarily the best football team around but I would do anything I needed to do to get the other team to look my way, ultimately I tried to be the loudest I could possibly be and when I was excited I could get the people around me to do the same,” Cross said.
Showing up is the first step, but true school spirit is more than that, it is also an attitude. Being proud to represent the school and cheer on your classmates is another huge part of it. That’s why it is up to us to turn this around and to get excited about our sports teams. The Golden Age of the R J Reynolds Rowdies starts now, so, let’s get a little bit more rowdy! R-O-W-D-Y!