Lee’s Summit West High School has never been shy towards tradition. From “Sweet Caroline”, to first Friday relay races, the school has a long repitrior of what makes West, West. Among these traditions is a group of juniors and seniors whose main job is to get the students of LSW hyped up, and not only for football games.
The tradition of the 12th man is long going. For the students involved, keeping the tradition alive while also trying to keep it fresh has something to be said for.
“I think our banners just look much better as we’re getting ready for the games and stuff. And I think they look a lot cooler than they used to because every time we do it, they look better. So I think that’s one thing that’s probably going to be different. But we try to keep tradition as much as possible,” said senior Carter Young.
This year the faces of 12th are beginning to work on creating a new image for the student section at Lee’s Summit West. “We’re moving towards more of like positive people that kids can look up to and get like, excited at these games without having to get alcohol involved or anything like that. Because there’s no point in doing that on school grounds,” said senior Dawson Erholtz.
With this comes setting an example for students in general around Lee’s Summit West. “Having a group of positive people that are like, not your normal teenagers that are rude, will be able to make kids more want to look up to you,” Erholtz said.
The 12th Man are the front line of the student section on Friday night football games, “we just make it more fun we get the crowd hype we you know we just have a good time and you know the I know the team loves it too,” said senior Morgan Potts.
But the 12th man aren’t only there to lead the student section, they are there in support of the football team and all other sports and activities. “I know it means a lot to the football team and it means a lot to like I know the administrators like it a lot because they think they’re like glad to see kids care about their school,” Erholtz said.
And even though the main event for the 12th man is the Friday night football games, and they can’t necessarily be as hyped up for some events as others, the 12th man use their morals in all school activities.
“I want to take some of those 12th man fundamentals like getting kids excited to go to stuff, and not just football games, we’re excited to be there no matter what you’re involved in, like, theater or anything like that and not just sports, but I think a lot of this school thinks we’re all sports. And we’re not, there’s so much more,” Erholtz said.
Now there’s also another question that comes up when mentioning the 12th man, How do you even become one? And the answer is simple. “It’s pretty much like whoever’s fun at football games, whoever’s hype and you know, juniors and underclassmen who we think are gonna make good leaders next year, we just kind of pick them out of the crowd,” Potts said.
This means in order to be a 12th man you don’t have to be one of the popular kids, “it seems like a lot of people say you have to know people but half the guys this year I’ve never hang out with. And so a lot of people just think it’s a specific club like you know these guys to get in,” Erholtz said.
So, when seeing the 12th man at the next game, get loud, get hype, and show school spirit. “[the games are] more about like the community, just bringing the school together, than anything else,” Young said.