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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, Oct. 27, 2017 1 year ago

Student sections bring the ruckus -- Observer Preps

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Student at local high schools continue the tradition of ratcheting up the atmosphere at games.
by: Troy Herring Sports Editor

They chant. They sing. They make sweet noise for their side, then turn around and yell at the other.

They are the bringers of life to their environment. Without them, silence falls upon the crowd.

Some apply war paint to their bodies, while others deck themselves out in the colors of their school. Sometimes there’s even a theme to go with at that night’s game.

Friday nights and some weekday afternoons are dedicated to their teams.

Their passion is unmatched, and they will stand out in the rain for all four quarters if they have to.

They are the many and the proud — they are the student section.

“There are a lot of football games that, we don’t help decide the game, but we definitely give our team a lot of energy and help them make better plays and do better,” said Edgewater senior Carson Bhavsar.

“Because they know we’re right there,” added fellow Edgewater senior Jacob Orlando.

Bhavsar and Orlando, alongside friend and Edgewater senior David Bales are the de facto leaders of The Flock — Edgewater’s official unofficial student section.

Orlando’s brother, who was one of the leaders last year, passed down the metaphorical baton to them for their senior year.

As the head of the group, the trio plans out just about everything regarding student participation at football and basketball games.

“We decide the colors, what we wear, what we kind of do, and what games to go to or not go to,” Bhavsar said. “We run chants and do baby powder, so everyone just follows what we do.”

The group, like other student sections at Winter Park High School and Bishop Moore, is the force behind the atmosphere that makes high-school games so enjoyable.

It’s a time for students to put aside the books and join their friends in rooting on their team. It’s always a party and each student section is unique in how they approach the game.

At Winter Park, students can be heard chanting “O-T-P! O-T-P!” as the Wildcats storm down the field — which has been fairly frequent this year. The mantra, which is also on the back of some of the footballs jerseys, stands for “On The Prowl.”

Over at Bishop Moore chants of “B-I-S--H-O-P, M-O-O-R-E” are serenaded between the band and the student section.

In the case of The Flock, Orlando, Bales and Bhavsar help lead the other students in a variety of creative ways.

There are the usual chants of “Let’s go Eagles,” which is then followed by a series of claps, and then there are some that includes the band.

One chant goes, “Edgewater-water, you know we ‘bout it, ‘bout it,” and everyone will reply with an enthusiastic “What?!”

“It’s a chant that we do when we come back from a big win, or if it’s a big game and we’re winning,” Bhavsar said. “We don’t do it often; it’s just usually at the end of the game as we walk out.” 

Along with going simply as students, another aspect of many of these groups is that it is also athletes supporting other athletes. 

In the case of Orlando, Cooper, and Bhavsar with The Flock, all three are a part of the Edgewater baseball team. Orlando is a pitcher, while Bales plays third and Bhavsar first.

And it doesn’t just stop at football games — athletes supporting athletes occurs at baseball, and volleyball and other games as well.

The trio at Edgewater sees this coming together of athletes as moral support and a means of helping each other reach their fullest potential — all while creating a positive community at the school.

“It’s cool when you have a bunch of athletes like that — it’s kind of like a club and one big school thing,” Bhavsar said. “When we have baseball games, a lot of the girls volleyball players come to our games, and we go to the football games, and then the football team goes to the basketball games.”

The real question to ask is, why do students put in the time at games when they could be doing anything else? Instead of standing outside in the heat, they could be in a cool place, or they could take a quick drive down to Disney.

But that said, the answers offered go beyond just the game itself. It’s about support, and community and bonding with friends and families.

“It helps you stay in the game and you’re with all of your friends,” Orlando said. “You’re just having a good time actually watching the game instead of just sitting out on your phone.”

For Bhavsar, it always has been about the school as much as about watching a sporting event.

“It also helps to make more school unity and brings people together within the school,” Bhavsar said. “With The Flock, you meet your friends there and the more people there the more fun it is, because the more we get to support the team, the more we better our school.”

Troy Herring is the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive (BS '12) and the University of Alabama (MA '16)....

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