I still remember watching my first high school basketball game at Harvard-Westlake like it was yesterday. To add to the hype, the game was against Loyola, and I was as excited and pumped up as ever. I had been reading all of the posts in the “Harvard-Westlake Fanatics 2010-2011” Facebook page leading up to the game and couldn’t wait to see what the atmosphere at a game was actually like.
Our crowd was so big that day that the fire marshall came and had to kick people out of the gym. It was hot and clammy, and I had sweat dripping down my face, but it was an experience that I will never forget.
Fast forward to this year; I am now a senior and a Head Fanatic, a dream come true. It’s now my opportunity to light the same fire in other students, young and old, that was ignited inside of me years ago at that Loyola game. The Fanatics this year have been incredible thus far, bringing over 200 kids to a volleyball game and truly making Taper Gymnasium a tough place for opposing teams to play in.
Some may ask why they should go to a game when they have so much work and stress. My answer to those students is that there is nothing more fun and relaxing than spending a couple hours at a game with friends screaming for your peers on the court. Whether it’s a simple “Har-vard-West-lake” chant or an insinuating “take his whistle” jeer from the mass of red in the stands, being a Fanatic represents camaraderie and companionship that students here are all about.
For those concerned that their lack of sports knowledge would be a hindrance to their experience as a spectator, think again. All anyone has to do is dawn a red fanatics shirt (feel free to see me if you don’t have one already), get ready to make some noise and enjoy the hour or two surrounded by friends on the sideline of Taper.
Like the Seahawks’ 12th man, I believe the Fanatics function as a sixth man of sorts for the basketball team. Ask any one of our varsity players and they would affirm how much harder it is to sink a free throw with hundreds of students harassing the shooter from just a few feet away. So in addition to having a great time and blowing off some steam, showing up for the Fanatics section is a monumental way to support fellow students that worked so hard to perform on the court, field or pool.
See you at the game!