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A refined system for Raider Nation

Tommy Heagney, College Editor
Tommy Heagney, College Editor

Oct. 20, Huntley High School east gym, Senior Night for the girls volleyball team. Expecting a large crowd at this highly anticipated final home game, I arrived at 6:47 p.m.. That’s right, 43 minutes before the scheduled beginning of the match. I wanted a good seat, like most of the people who would be attending.

Courtesy of two team managers who had been watching the sophomore game, my friend and I landed second row seats.  The rest of the evening would not go as smoothly.

Ignoring my rapidly disappearing personal space, I looked down at my phone, and got to work on live tweeting the game for the sports section of Things seemed that they would be fine from that point onward, but following a signature kill by senior player Sam Boesch and the ensuing roar from the people around me, I found myself shoved sideways and halfway onto the stairs leading up the bleachers. Had it not been for a last-second save I would have found my phone screen shattered underneath the wood panel underneath me.

Looking for the source of my sudden eviction from Raider Nation, I looked to my left. I found that several fellow juniors had assisted a friend, who had just arrived, in getting an undeserved second row seat.

“Move the hell down, Tom,” said an unidentifiable member of the group.

Then, a cry from a senior who had just arrived: “Everybody move back,” he said. “There is no way in hell that I’m sitting any further back than the front row.”

Within ten minutes, I would find myself completely removed from the space I had once occupied, and now awkwardly standing on the stairs.

To say that I was angry would be an understatement.

To say that countless others are angry about experiencing the same type of treatment, would also be an understatement.

“I think that being pushed back by people who think they are better than you is just straight up wrong,” said junior Russell Oddo. “If I was getting pushed back by people who arrived late I wouldn’t move.  I would stay in the spot that I picked.”

Caught between the end of the volleyball season and the beginning of the basketball season, it is time for the administration and student leadership of Raider Nation to institute a system that will ensure this problem becomes a thing of the past.

According to athletic director Bruce Blumer, attempts were made by him and senior Tara Lycos to assign seats in the first row, at the beginning of the volleyball season. The name tags placed on the bleachers disappeared, however, and seating once again became a free-for-all.

Although a hierarchy within a student-run body is undesirable, it is necessary to a degree within a fan section such as Raider Nation. Placing recognized and generally accepted leaders in the front row provides a sense of direction for the rest of the fans, and makes well-known cheers like the “Rollercoaster” and “Huntley Hoedown” possible.

Within my proposed system, it would make the most sense to continue this tradition of hand-picking the first row based on their loudness.

The problem of the first row is therefore solved, but what about the next couple of “prime” rows directly behind it?

“I think that the people who come to the games on a consistent basis should be in the first couple of rows,” said junior Colin Lyman.

Senior Izzy Lugo agrees.

“People should be chosen based on their commitment to Raider Nation, going to games, and planning and leading cheers,” said Lugo.

While the idea of rewarding hardcore fans should definitely be taken into consideration within this proposed system, thought should also be given to age and time remaining in the school.

“Seniors should definitely have priority,” said senior Brandon King. “Any senior that sits in the front has been to many games in the past years, sitting in the middle and the back, and they have earned the spot. It is [their] last year to be a part of a student section.”

So, say the next five rows after the front row are given to students who show dedication, and attend a certain number of games. With the technology the district has, why not have students swipe their ID card each time they enter a game? Create a type of system where students can earn the title of something like “dedicated fan” or “Raider rooter” if they attain a certain number of games in a season.

With this system of keeping track of attendance in place, the second through sixth rows could be made available only to students who attend a set amount of games. Within this section, seniors would have the right to move underclassmen back. While this could potentially continue discontent from moved back students, they would have the comfort of knowing that by their senior year they would have the ability to do the same. In order to prevent late arrivals from moving students within this section back, a time frame would be set. If, say, students showed up at least half an hour before a game, they would be granted access to the section. Arriving at a later time would mean that students would have to sit in the remaining rows behind the sixth.

This remaining area of seats could be split into equal amounts of rows, and arranged by class. Once a class’s respective rows were filled, all remaining students would have to move back to the last rows left for all classes. No precedence based on class would be given to students in this very last section, as it would be filled with mostly late arrivals.

While no system could please every student, this proposed seating system would be as fair as possible in application.

“Everybody is a part of Raider Nation,” said General Constitution teacher Daniel Farlik. “I don’t care if you’re in the front or the back.”

The evolution of Raider Nation has done wonders for the entire community, but it has also made the old system of free-for-all seating obsolete.

Coming off of what is arguably its most successful season yet, it is time for Raider Nation and Blumer to sit down and hammer out an agreeable system to seat fans.

“The most likely system would go by class,” said Blumer. “That way, everybody would have an opportunity to be up front.”

No matter the specifics of the system, it should be implemented by the beginning of the basketball season.

The well-being and continued success of the section, its fans, and my phone depends on it.

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