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[/media-credit]Red, white and Columbia blue decorate the stands. Sometimes it’s blazers, ties or Lilly Pulitzer dresses, occasionally it’s an array of sports jerseys. No matter the theme for the game, the East student section is known for its enthusiastic chants and eager participation resonating throughout the stands. Once known throughout the district for its negative attitude, today the East fan section has made purposeful strides in improving it’s sportsmanship and reputation.
This revival of appropriate behavior within the last couple of years is a trend that administrators hope is finally here to stay. Principal Dr. Karl Krawitz, recalled a time around five years ago when conduct among the fan section was at a very low point, causing East to develop a negative reputation around the surrounding schools and districts.
“In the past the mission from students at East was to create problems and issues for the other teams,” Krawitz said. “This just totally blew my mind.”
Fans would single out players on the opposite team by their names and numbers on their jerseys, yelling obscenities and derogatory comments at them.
“The fans were obnoxious,” East graduate and former varsity cheer captain Ashley Adams said. “Nobody would cheer along with us, and they would yell really rude things at the players on the other team.”
Although similar occurrences have happened in the years following, the number of incidences have decreased. This is mostly due to involvement of the senior class, policing younger grades and helping maintain appropriate behavior throughout games.
“I think that [the fan section] is getting better,” Associate Principal Molli Anderson said. “Our expectation is that the seniors model for the underclassmen what appropriate sportsmanship looks like, and that they help to enforce this.”
As the senior class begins to take more responsibility and control over the content and conduct of the fan section at games, the hope is that the reputation at East regarding the sportsmanship of fans will continue to improve.
“The fan section needs to be involved in pumping up the team, our responsibility is to get people involved in the game,” current senior Scott Slapper said. “This year the senior class is playing more of a role, our cheers are better and we have done a good job of making up ones everybody can get involved in.”