Freshman year, I rarely went to sports games. It was not anything against the athletes; the lack of energy in the crowd was disappointing and I would simply rather have been at home in my bed. Two years later, things have changed. Every time I miss a home game, I feel a slight emotional letdown. Part of this is due to the creation of Storm Squad, Franklin High School’s (FHS) new spirit group.
Created this year by ASB, Storm Squad has brought school spirit to Franklin like never before. “For the last couple of years there’s been a lack of spirit at Franklin,” says ASB and Storm Squad member Duncan Goddard (11). “Storm Squad was created to bring this spirit up, and it kind of evolved into this movement.”
Storm Squad’s success was highlighted during the OSAA men’s soccer playoff tournament. Winning the state championship, Lightning soccer did not disappoint. Neither did the student section. “It was really cool to see so many people come out and support,” says Norah Bean (11), one of the ASB members behind the creation of Storm Squad. It was impossible to miss the sea of FHS students sporting maroon and gray at each playoff game, as was avoiding a sore throat the next day for the cheering students: a minor cost. “Having all of the people there really just gives you the extra motivation to go the extra mile,” says Jackson Kincaid-Osborn (11), a Storm Squad member and varsity soccer player. “Especially against Cleveland in the semi final, you just don’t want to give up on your team because there are so many people that want you to win and you feel everyone’s energy, so having the crowd is a big help.”
Though the spirit during the men’s soccer state playoffs will forever be difficult to match, Storm Squad supports other sports, too. Just last year, crowds at basketball games were mostly comprised of parents with some students scattered within the crowd. Now, not only has student representation increased, but the energy off the court has as well. Walk into a men’s varsity basketball game at Franklin and you will undoubtedly see students on their feet, singing songs to distract the opposing team and chanting proudly. “Students feed off of each other’s passion and excitement, which makes it a better experience for both the players and the surrounding fans,” says men’s varsity basketball starter Tucker Pellicci (12). “Having people in the stands who are there to support really gives us a boost. As a team, we’ve learned to take the energy from our surroundings and translate that into our play. It all starts with Storm Squad.”
Ideally, this same energy would be brought to women’s basketball games as well. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Women’s varsity player Carmen Fiarito (11) pointed out that sometimes at home games, the fan section for the opposing team is larger than that of Franklin. “It’s really disheartening,” says Fiarito. “We’re in the process of rebuilding a great girls team and the only way that we can reach our full potential is by having supporters and fans. I believe that Storm Squad needs to be representative of all sports and not just picking and choosing all men’s games in every sport.”
The leaders of Storm Squad do recognize this inequality. “We have dates set aside for women’s sports that members of Storm Squad in ASB go to,” says Storm Squad representative Hernando Magallanes (11). “But for the people outside of ASB, they don’t necessarily come to women’s games. We can’t really control what they do, but the support is definitely lacking in women’s sports, especially basketball.”
In addition to a lack of support for women’s sports, Storm Squad recognizes a lack of support for sports that are less in the spotlight, like wrestling or, in the fall, cross country. “A big problem for us is getting people to go support sports that they don’t really know that much about,” says Kincaid-Osborn. Hopefully in the future, Storm Squad will equally support men and women’s sports and broaden this support to include less mainstream sports as well.
Though there is always room for improvement, Storm Squad is off to a great start in terms of bringing school spirit to Franklin. If cheering on your school’s athletes sounds like your jam, they’re always looking for more members. “Besides the actual sport that’s being played, we’re always trying to compete for who’s being the loudest and stuff like that. It’s always a competition,” says Magallanes. To join Storm Squad, go to @fhsstorm on Instagram and click the link in the bio.