The Story of Cougar Spirit
By Megan Paradowski
Last year, Eagle Sports Editor Larry Bowen wrote a criticizing article entitled “Be classy, Cougar Raggies.” The story detailed “offensive” fan behavior taking place during baseball playoff games. The article intentioned for shame sparked a school spirit legacy that only continues to grow.
“My friends and I would come to the baseball games, and we would be really loud just to get in the heads of the other players,” junior Colby Bachmann said.
Bachmann had a large part in starting the Cougar Raggies trend. He and his friends were called to the office after the article was published.
“[Mike Martindale] said he didn’t have a problem with what we were doing, but he wanted to let us know what was happening,” Bachmann said. “It made me mad, and I realized we had to make Cougar Raggies bigger.”
In the midst of all the hype about the article, Bachmann texted his friends and encouraged them to come to the games. Alex Miller, Michael McCord and Trey Cole made Cougar Raggies t-shirts and sold them to the student body.
“[Cougar Raggies] has evolved a lot since then,” Bachmann said.
Cole took the idea of Cougar Raggies and created a way for the entire student body to get involved.
“I felt like students should have a voice in something that isn’t run by teachers,” he said. “It’s fun if students can do something on their own.”
Cole realized that if everyone yelled the same cheers in unison at school games, then student sections would sound that much better. From these ideas, Cole started Cougar Yell practices.
Cougar Yell practice is held every Thursday before a home football game, and the practice includes Cole teaching the participants new cheers he invented that will be chanted at the following football game.
“I wanted to start Cougar Raggie activities early in the year, not just before baseball season, so every sport feels like they contribute to the success of our school and they are all supported,” Cole said. “Everyone should feel like we care about them.“
The first practice was held two weeks ago in the main gym, and Cole says it was very successful.
“It went really well considering I talked to Martindale that day to approve the idea, and that night we had a big turnout despite the short notice,” Cole said. “I feel like the practices will only get better.”
Cole describes his long-term goals for Cougar Yell practices and Cougar Raggies in general.
“I want our fans to be not only number one in the state, but number one in the nation,” Cole said. “I think we can take this and make it something big.”
Keeping the Fans Alive
Another major advocate for school spirit is the school stunt man, Marcus Neely.
“Towards the end of last school year I made friends with the cheer girls, and they told me how cool it would be if they had a guy, so they could do more stunts and cheers,” he said.
Neely joins the cheerleaders during seventh period every day and lifts cheerleaders at pep rallies and games.
“I love it,” he said. “I love being around the girls because they’re really fun to talk to, and they’re just nice people.”
Neely also assists the cheer sponsors in making executive decisions. In addition, he learns new stunts and back spots during the cheer period. Neely even recruited most of the flag runners, who also help lift the cheerleaders at pep rallies and games on occasion.
“A lot of people ask me why I do it, and they’re pretty amazed that I do it just because I like the school and the idea of trying something new,” he said.
Neely believes in the impact school spirit can have on the student body.
“I find school spirit extremely important,” he said. “Some people at this school think that anything school related is dumb, but this is something that you only get to do once in your life.”