What Happened to Husky Hype? A Football Chronicle

What Happened to Husky Hype? A Football Chronicle

We American teenagers often find that Europe’s perception of the classic “American” high school experience to be all wrong. They seem to idolize yellow school buses and homecoming dances. But arguably, one of the most coveted parts of American high school culture would be none other than football games – and no, I do not mean soccer. I’m referring to the all-American, Friday-night-lights, booming student section, tackle-sport phenomenon almost every high school in the United States has within their sports program. As the very backbone of high school sports in America, I have sought to investigate the stigma that has come to surround our Flint Hill Football program. 

From 2017 to 2019, the Flint Hill Huskies saw their peak. Slowly but surely, the team climbed the charts, going 22-0 over the course of those two respective seasons and reaching a top ten rank in the state of Virginia. However, an issue that all high school athletic programs face is the loss of valuable players to their eventual graduation. Combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Flint Hill football team saw a pause in their program’s history and had to start from scratch with new players when schools opened back up again. I believe that it was this era of rebuilding that led to the loss of the explosive hype for our football team.

As a junior, I have witnessed my fair share of upsetting football losses to our close conference rivals. Not to mention, these pains were worsened by our opponents’ outrageous Instagram presence. Obviously, in a new age of technology, social media plays an avid role in student life as well as creating a sense of community. The jabs that these student-run accounts make at each other are mostly in good fun, but when it comes time for highly-anticipated games between teams, the posts can get a little intense, especially when the games end and the winning football team can boast all they want on their platforms. After these past two years, the Flint Hill football team and its players became the subject of frequent punchlines on Instagram due to their record against schools like Paul VI and Bishop O’Connell. As more and more students in our community viewed these posts, their pride for the team dwindled, and eventually a good amount of us lost faith in our football program, forgetting the potential that they had for success.

It is entirely plausible that this embarrassment on social media online took its toll offline as well and huskies became less inclined to participate in Spirit Week leading up to big events. Spirit weeks are arguably one of the most important factors in fostering community and active fanbase. “I’ve found that spirit weeks and pep rallies don’t yield a lot of participation,” said Junior Keira Stout when asked about her opinion of husky hype. Junior Maddy Watkins agreed, stating: “Especially at small schools like Flint Hill, no one wants to stand out and be the only one dressing up for spirit days.” So, when students are too scared or uninterested in showing their school spirit, it can be expected for game turnout to suffer. “People don’t really go to games unless they’re big ones like the homecoming match,” said junior Saanvi Avula.

All of these factors combined have led to a steady decline in the loss of hype surrounding our husky athletes. Going into this most recent season, students were left with the impression that showing support for the team was not worth their while. 

However, what is interesting is to see how this stigma has been changed after the 2023 season. The Flint Hill Huskies have arguably reached the near end of their rebuilding era and climbed up to a #24 spot in the state’s rankings after previously being placed at #104. The team had a phenomenal season, knocking out our rivals Potomac, Maret, and St. James for the number-one spot in the league. Personally, I remember feeling shocked and immense pride learning that the team beat Potomac 50-0 on their senior night!

Overall, I predict that the 2024-25 football season will yield more audience participation than these past couple of years. Our Flint Hill Huskies have been putting in the work and are due for a successful series of games that will spark community pride for many students to remember.

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