Storm Chasers work to increase school spirit; crowd leader finds the job can be hard to do

by Ashley Pitkin

Increasing attendance at football games is still a work in progress for the Simpson Storm Chasers, but it’s not the only thing on the organization’s agenda, according to Storm Chasers’ co-president senior Erin Disney.

“For us being around just two months I think the football games have gotten a lot better – the crowd is more responsive,” Disney said. “But we want to promote attendance to all athletic events, not just football.”

Disney, along with the other members of the Storm Chasers, had big plans to raise spirit levels at fall athletic events, including tailgating accommodations, T-shirt sales and game-break competitions. They’ve also started planning things to increase fan support during the winter athletic season.

“We’re working with CAB and the band to get the fight song going again and we want fan buses for away games,” Disney said. “We also have some ideas for basketball season – theme nights and different promotions.”

If a student wants to become member of the Storm Chasers all he or she has to do is show up to meetings, held on Tuesday nights at 6 p.m. in Brenton Student Center. Right now Disney says they have 20 consistent attendees but would always welcome more.

“To anyone interested I would tell them our meetings are real casual so come check it out,” Disney said. “We’re also looking for crowd leaders – people who know the cheers and would step up to help get the fans involved”

Senior Allyson Carlson has attended every Simpson football game since she was a freshman and has been asked by the Storm Chasers to be a crowd leader at some of the recent games.

“I was asked to lead a few cheers and I tried, but people just stared at me,” Carlson said. “It’s hard to start something new though, so I think once the idea has been around for a while people will become more comfortable with it.”

Although Carlson isn’t a member of the Storm Chasers, she still remains a big supporter of the group and believes it’s doing something great for the Simpson community.

“I was really excited to hear about them and I’m impressed at their enthusiasm,” Carlson said. “It’s a lot of seniors – their last go-around – and they’re looking at what’s best for the school in the long run, they’re not just doing it for their short-term enjoyment. They want to start a tradition.”

Sophomore Brady Buresh, an assistant sports-administration intern, is up in the Cowles Stadium press box during all football games, so he has a bird’s-eye view of the crowd. According to him, the game environment has improved lately because of Storm Chaser’s efforts.

“The music around the tailgate area is awesome – it’s a great atmosphere,” Buresh said. “The raffles are a great idea too, I can’t wait to see what they do for basketball. I bet they’ll get a lot of people packed into the gym.”

Buresh, like Carlson, isn’t directly involved with the Storm Chasers, but with time he believes he, as well as others in his grade, will become more active within the organization.

“I have that administration job and I work at Intramurals – you can’t expect everyone to be out there right away,” Buresh said. “But I’m seeing more and more freshmen and sophomores joining. I think it will be something carried on.”