(Contributed by Skyler Hofman, a senior at Saline High School and member of the Saline High School cheerleading team.)
On a warm September transition day between summer and fall, I am ready to cheer at the Saline Hornet Football Stadium. The field is superior to any other high school football field in Michigan. The dome-like arena mimics that of a small college.
It is 5:45 pm, and I am just arriving at the field to start preparing to cheer on the football team to another victory. Standing by the locker rooms that reek of sweat, I look up and see all the senior football players faces blown up on individual banners, watching over the endzone. Fans start to trickle in at this time, but the stadium is not filled up to maximum capacity yet. Somehow though, the energy and anticipation for the big game can be felt amongst the few people buzzing around.
As kick-off approaches the stadium is starting to look fuller. The fans in the stands look like sardines packed tightly in their tin cans, sitting elbow to elbow and knee to knee ready to root for their hometown heros. The student section is full of my classmates who are more than prepared to lose their voices yelling for their football team. However, before the intense game can begin, the national anthem must be sung. The crowd looks towards the concessions where the flag is doing a dance, waving as tall as ever. Pride illuminates the stadium while our nation’s song is being performed. I am able to hear a pin drop in the stadium. Everyone is respecting our nation. Once the anthem is over, it is game time. The Saline Hornets are ready to dominate.
It is now 7:00 pm, and I am standing in front of the student section, excited to do what I can do best, lead chants. As I look up all of my friends are in the front row of the student section hanging their bodies as far over the fence as they can, without falling onto the squishy, bright green turf. Their arms reach out while they root on the team as if they were trying to catch the football themselves. I then look past my friends in the front row and take in what the student section looks like as a whole. This week’s game is an orange out, and every person in the section is decked out head to toe in orange apparel. Not a single soul is sitting, every student is on their feet jumping up and down, yelling as if they were at a concert.
The second quarter arrives, and the sky darkens with it. During this quarter the cheer team cheers down farther away from the student section, in front of the parent’s side. In this section, Band, football, and cheerleading parents, along with community members, sit together as one to watch the boys pull out yet another victory.The atmosphere of this side is much less hectic than the student section, but the amount of pride and excitement remains the same. The stands are filled with Salinians who live for the friday night lights.
Whether I am cheering in front of the rowdy student section or in front of the dedicated and loving parents, one thing is the same, the pride each fan holds in their eyes. Friday night lights at the Saline Hornet Football Stadium are absolutely priceless.