Friday night football games provides students with a social environment


James Kepner

For many SCHS students, football games offer a high-spirited environment to enjoy the sport and socialize with friends.

A student walks into the stands at the football game, hearing her name being called by friends and classmates. She notices cheerleaders chanting and dancing in front of the student section, with students clapping and cheering, as others jump up for balloons and necklaces being thrown into the crowd. She smells the warm nachos and deep fried Oreos coming from the Bruin Bistro. Excitement fills the air and she knows this is going to be a special night. 

For many students like senior Hazel Abalos, football games are a fun way to spend Friday nights with friends.

“Whenever I show up to these games, people yell out my name and people get to see each other,” Abalos said. “It’s just exciting to see them, especially if they’re out of the school, like upperclassmen, or from a middle school.” 

Vice Principal of Activities, Facilities and Communication Sharon Freeman believes that the social environment draws in the school community rather than a love for high school football.

“A lot of the staff come, which is great, and they just chose to come because they have students in any of those teams, or they just want to socialize as well,” Freeman said. 

Many students may be drawn to the game for the social aspect, but the spirit encourages others to stay. 

“The student spirit at football games is really strong here at Santa Clara,” Freeman said. 

Junior Bella Acuna finds the student section to be one of the biggest attractions at football games. 

“All the energy starts up and everybody’s cheering,” Acuna said. “Everybody is just pumped up because of the game.”

Senior Jamal Howard serves as the Associated Student Body’s Spirit Representative and president of Bruin Den, a student-led spirit club. Howard said he takes initiatives to create an enjoyable experience for watchers.

“In our first event, I tried adding pool noodles to see how the crowd would react. For our second game, I tried adding streamers,” Howard said. “I saw a lot of people having fun with those. It’s a lot about keeping everyone happy”

Despite the exciting environment, managing a high-energy crowd can be busy for Howard.

“It’s a happy and chaotic place where you have a few people who step out of line, but when you say something or put them in the spotlight, they tend to calm down a little bit,” Howard said. “With happiness (chaos), it’s very busy with a lot of things going on at one time, and it can seem to get out of hand sometimes. You can bring it (the crowd chaos) back, so at the end of the day, everyone is enjoying themselves.”

Aside from the student section, Acuna believes the Bruin Bistro helps bring and keep students at games.

“If they get the food there, they don’t have to worry about making dinner at home, or they can just stay for the full game,” Acuna said. 

Students like Acuna believe that football games have a different environment than other sports due to its larger audience. 

“The energy is definitely up at football games,” Acuna said. 

For Howard, the large attendance and continuous activity in the student section differentiates football from other sports.

“Everyone knows about it, and everyone wants to be a part of it,” Howard said. 

Abalos used to attend football games before high school, making football games a nostalgic experience. 

“My favorite memory is being young and not knowing what anything is yet and then coming back and understanding it better and having that own scene,” Abalos said.

Freeman views games as an exciting bonding experience for the community. 

“They’re (attendees) there for the energy and the student camaraderie, the student connections,” Freeman said. “I don’t think it matters if we’re winning every game. It’s a social gathering to go out and watch the game.”