It is Time to Reignite the Inferno

Kelly DiFonzo, Contributing Editor

As I watched my two sisters experience the glory that is high school, I fantasized about the days when I would finally experience the same as them. I remember watching Friday night basketball games as a middle schooler in the parent’s section across from the smoldering student section, the Inferno.
The Poms, the cheerleaders, the questionable guys in orange body suits and the student body all unified in a single orange hue, cheering on their peers. Every aspect of the game was responded to with a roar from the engaged crowd.
The Inferno ignited four years ago and was smoldering at every single game. Even on weekday games when students had other obligations, leaders such as Rockville alum Robby DeYoung (“13) came up with creative themes such as firefighter or beach themes to draw bigger crowds.
“Honestly a lot of my favorite high school memories have to do with the inferno. There was no better feeling than watching the opposing team look completely dumbfounded when a mass of kids in orange shirts parade into their home gym,” DeYoung said “We tried our best to get as many students as possible to all the home games.”
Now, the “Inferno” seems to be more like a girls scout campfire, if even. Throughout football season, the student turnout was low. Even when the bleachers are filled with students decked out in orange, the energy is non-existent. The classic “I believe that we will win!” chant lacks all confidence and sounds like anything except actually believing our team has a shot.
Our athletics may not be states-bound, but that is no good reason to stop showing support. The team is not supposed to fuel the crowd, but rather the crowd fuel the team. In fact the 2013 football season’s record was a mediocre 5-5 yet the stands were still ablaze home and away.
If the athletic team needs to be top-notch to attend then why does the Inferno not make any effort to show up to the girl’s varsity basketball games? These Lady Rams are expected to have the best season yet with a current record of 4-1 as of Jan. 19. Or why not show up to a couple swim meets, home of multiple reigning state champions?
Rockville’s school spirit is at its peak before the much anticipated game against rival Richard Montgomery HS (RM). Despite some unnecessary Twitter beef, RHS seems to be most unified in the days leading up to the big game. Unfortunately, this all seemed to die down the moment we lost the RM football game back in September.
Unlike our school, RM has maintained a strong student turnout at home and away games even after the Rockville game. Motivated student leaders do what they can to reach and gather the vast RM student body at sporting events.
“Our student section, nicknamed “Hell’s Kitchen,a�� is fueled by our strong senior leaders called “The Chefs.a�� They make sure everyone is getting out to the games through weekly morning announcement hype videos and social media involvement in order to reach everyone and get pumped,” RM junior Nick Vafa said.
It would make sense for a school like RM, with over 2,000 students, to have larger game turnouts than a school like RHS with only 1,300 students. However, our small school population should only improve our school spirit. Our small and supportive community, which we take for granted, has so much potential for unity.
This season in particular, football games lacked the common Friday night lights energy. Student attendance to the game and energy seemed to be astonishingly low.
“Football season was disappointing. It started off well, but died down. Koby and I plan to try and bring back the school spirit we had for basketball season and make a name for 2017,” senior Inferno leader Kylee McDaniel said.
I used to look forward to Friday night games. Now I hear constantly from our very own basketball players “we are trash” or “don’t come to our games.” Clearly, there is no one reason for the problem. The negative mentality has accumulated and taken over the school. Students, including myself, have not made school spirit a priority because we have no reason to do so anymore.