Perspective from the front row

Seniors share how they support their peers from the front of the student section and how they plan to continue as football season comes to a close.

James+Pinter+%2720+and+members+of+the+student+section+pose+for+a+pictures+as+they+cheer+on+the+Trojans+against+Bettendorf+on+Sept.+6.

Owen Aanestad

James Pinter '20 and members of the student section pose for a pictures as they cheer on the Trojans against Bettendorf on Sept. 6.

Whether the Trojans are winning or losing, the student section finds something to cheer for. In West gear, camouflage, or at times shirtless, the swarm of students is always interacting with the team, cheerleaders, drumline and each other at football games. No group is more influential in the student section than the seniors, who claim the best seats and lead the chants.

“It makes the senior class kind of come together because in the past, especially with Liberty being opened, like I feel like there’s been a disconnect between the students in our class,” Leah Rietz ’20 said. “And then this student section is kind of a nice opportunity because we all have the same energy and goal, and then I can kind of just talk to anybody in there because we’re all just like going crazy and cheering.”

If we’re down by so much, might as well just have fun because we’re going to lose. So I just try to keep up the spirit and maybe change the vibe of the game.”

— Grace Schneider '20

Rietz and Grace Schneider ’20 both have been going to West football games since they were in junior high. The six year progression from sitting on the hill to starting the “I believe that we will win” cheer is common for loyal fans. 

This season has been difficult for the football team with a 2-5 record, but upperclassmen still found energy and positivity to hype up their peers.

“If we’re down by so much, might as well just have fun because we’re going to lose. So I just try to keep up the spirit and maybe change the vibe of the game,” Schneider said. 

James Pinter ’20 began at West his junior year after moving from Wisconsin. Even though he didn’t grow up on the Trojan field, he is one of the most loyal attendants of games. He loves coming up with ways to participate, like holding up signs or convincing seven other guys to take off their shirts and spell out “Go Trojans!” on their chest at the Linn-Mar game

“Being creative with that sort of stuff, and bouncing ideas off the rest of the guys, that’s kind of what kept it fun. It wasn’t necessarily all about if we won or lost, but when you’re surrounded by your friends in the student section, it’s a really good energy,” Pinter said.

The last home football game was Oct. 11, but the student section isn’t only relevant in the fall on Friday nights. Although football draws a large crowd, student section loyalists are trying to expand the student section at basketball and soccer games–especially girls basketball and soccer– as well as swimming and wrestling. 

Schneider plays softball and girls basketball, both of which have significantly smaller support than football or boys basketball. She hopes that her enthusiasm about her peers’ sports will be reciprocated when her sports are in season. 

It’s not weird to be actively involved in your school, and actually be proud of what your school is about and what your school is doing.”

— James Pinter '20

“My favorite thing is probably getting a bunch of people together to support my fellow classmates and their athletics, because I feel like if I go to their sports for them, they’ll come to mine,” Schneider said.

Pinter is involved with Lead West club and counselor Paul Brietbach wanted more students to come to less attended sports. Pinter encouraged his peers to watch a girls swim meet, initially telling friends they would be helping Pinter out, but the crew that went said they had more fun watching than they expected.

“It’s cool to have school spirit,” said Pinter. “Come to games, cheer, participate in like the school spirit weeks that we have. Get loud. It’s not weird to be actively involved in your school, and actually be proud of what your school is about and what your school is doing. So be active and let yourself have fun, don’t let other people judge how much fun you’re having.”