By Taylor Tryon, Tumwater High School Intern to ThurstonTalk
After a dreary fall week, nothing brings Tumwater alive like Friday Night Football. The halls of Tumwater High School are always abuzz with talk of the night ahead. Signs splashed across every wall, cheerleaders in uniform, players in their jerseys, and the mascot roaming the halls all add to the electric atmosphere.
It all starts with mass texts and tweets announcing the theme of that night’s game. White Out, Black Out, Green Out, Pink Out for Breast Cancer Awareness, Super Fan – the list goes on.
Next up is the pregame. Fans show up decked out in spirit wear long before the game starts, whether for the tailgate in the student parking lot or just to get a prime spot in the nest, they are there and ready to support.
Soon the stadium is packed and the team is prepared. Beside the lively student section is the band, ready to aid in keeping the energy up for all four quarters. Below sit the ever-supportive season ticket holders, made up of parents and alumni. Evergreen trees line the horizon and the bright lights shine, making a perfect setting for a night of excitement.
The real magic starts at kick off. Once the clock on the scoreboard starts, Tumwater becomes a force to be reckoned with. This is when T-Bird Nation comes alive. Just walking past the THS student section can be a bit intimidating, with the loud chatter, intense involvement, and staggering turn out.
However, the feeling of being on the inside is indescribable. “There’s really nothing like it,” said Tumwater High sophomore, Kaitlyn Barber. The Nest gives an immediate sense of community, of everyone coming together to support Tumwater “Winning” Football.
The key to fun in The Nest is participating in the cheers. Some are led by the THS Cheer Squad and others T-Bird initiated and include the classic ROTA and GATA chants, Keep Truckin’, I Believe that We Will Win, and of course, the Tumwater High School Fight Song when the team scores.
Fight the team across the field for THS is here. We’re gonna send the Earth reverberating with a mighty cheer: Rah! Rah! Rah! Hit them hard and see how they fall, never let that team get the ball, Hail Hail the gang’s all here so let’s beat those (opponents) now!”
The noise of the Nest may not be anywhere near that of the 12th man, but it is definitely enough to wake the neighbors. Periodically during the game, a message will spread through the section to ‘go crazy’ at a set time. Everyone waits patiently, watching the clock as the seconds tick down. The main goals are to be heard by the team, to send a message of encouragement, and to remind them of our presence. At Tumwater, there is a special relationship between the team and the fans – an understanding that no matter what, the support will be there, and T-Bird Nation faithfully displays that steady devotion.
With the recent social media boom concerning the popularization of loud and proud student sections, The Nest has adopted quite a few ideas from other schools. Most notably, last season’s black out game left The Nest covered in flour. On any average game day however, cans of silly string or rolls of streamers are far from rare. Videos of The Nest can be found all over Twitter and Vine and showcase the enthusiasm of Tumwater football fans. Many students from other schools have commented on the spirit Tumwater has, flocking to Twitter to voice their envy and support for the Thunderbirds.
It’s no secret that Tumwater High School’s Football program is something special. The coach, the team, and the titles all add up to the Thunderbirds as an unrelenting force in Thurston County. It’s important, in all of the Friday night lights, not to lose focus of the real goal of T-Bird Nation: to give the players on the field a place to look up and feel the support, win or lose.