COMMENTARY: Bring Back The Student Sections

By DAVID BROX, davidbrox@shukc.com

We all make mistakes in life.  Some are small, while others you get reminded of from time to time.  It is a part of life.  In some cases, however, opportunities do present themselves to right a wrong and that is what I am hoping to accomplish with writing this article.

At some point in the past, the student sections at Wyandotte, Sumner Academy, Harmon and Washington were shut down.  I don't know the reason, but I have heard from many people that they existed at one time but the students were eventually told to sit down.

I will say in the nicest way possible that this decision was short-sighted and has killed the essence of sports in KCK.

Last season, KCK Preps did a postseason broadcast from Sumner Academy.  The two-time defending 4A champions were opening their post season tournament at home against St. James Academy.  This team featured the eventual DiRenna Award winner for best all around player in the metro and a fighting chance to move on to the state tournament.

The gym, however, looked like a late season Royals game in terms of attendance. I am quite sure St. James had more fans in the house than the home team. 

How is this possible?

My opinion is that outside of the parents and a very few loyal fans there is little connection to the sports teams and the community.  Most importantly this decision has severed the relationship between the teams and the students. 

Students attend the games to have fun and there is no other commentary to put on this statement.  If you eliminate fun, then a trip to the library sounds a lot more appealing. 

So if it is not obvious my request in this article is to bring the student sections back to these schools and I want to help.  Below is a list of steps and I am calling out the class presidents and the booster clubs at each of these schools to take. 

1.  I have my theories on why this got shut down but I will not go into them here.  I really don't think it matters, but we will be proactive in self policing the group.  The class president needs to talk to their principal or athletic director about assigning a staff member to man the student section.  I have actually seen Piper High School principal Tim Conrad manning this post during the Paola final. 

2.  The section needs a leader.  The class president should select a couple of individuals that is dedicated to this job.  You could have some fun with even this portion of the process.  Campaign and elect section leaders.

3.  Recruit your classmates to participate in the group.

4.  Name your student section.  Bonner Springs calls themselves the Orange Crush.  It is simply bad karma to not name your student section.  This is when your booster club gets engaged because you can then sell T-Shirts for blackouts, whiteouts, blueouts or what ever out you want to do during a particular game.  Money raised can go into getting equipment for cheerleaders (who need to play a role here).  Donate the money to the programs at the school.

Stop doing car washing and get creative with your student council and booster clubs.  The 50/50 pots are a good idea, but wouldn't that 50 percent look a lot better if you put effort into getting the alumni in the seats? 

5.  Practice your "I believe chant".  This is a serious pet peeve of mine.  Piper, I am going to call you out.  The chant should take place before the game and that is it.  DO NOT DO IT WHEN THE GAME IS DECIDED.  Piper finally believed when Piper lined up in the victory formation in football.  Believe at the beginning of the game.

6.  Don't snub me in your chants like Basehor-Linwood's "Gamma Chamber" did Tuesday night.  A subtle hint for a student section name.  Don't make this group angry!

I am sure there are plenty of good ideas and again I am not at all interested in discussing or hearing why this shouldn't happen.  The same people that attend and sit in the student section now are the fans the program will need five years from now when they are alumni and become boosters.

We have to connect our teams with the community.  Starting first and foremost with alumni.  If you are a member of a booster club, I would like to hear from you. 

Next level thinking.  My vision is simple and that is to put KCK on the map. 

I get to speak to some great parents and one of my favorites is Tom Beebe, who said it best.  "It takes a village."