First Football Friday for Freshmen


Andrzejuk (center right) and her friends.

A first glance into the stands of a West Potomac football game shows excited high schoolers with big smiles on their faces–but how many of these students are freshmen, and are they smiling, too? Bell Andrzejuk attended her first football game as a high schooler on September 1, but wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.


“I was excited, but I was nervous for the hype squad,” Andrzejuk admits. “Most of the people are older and it’s always full, so you have to have friends to go with.”


The freshmen had to sit at the top of the hype squad, while the seniors got to be at the front. Grant Gustafson didn’t mind, though.


“I kind of like the top because you can see better,” he said.


Andrzejuk recognized the natural hierarchy.


“To me, sitting at the top is just like a thing that everyone in the hype squad has to go through.”


Umar Aziz couldn’t make it for the first football game because of the Muslim holiday Eid, but he was excited to go to the one on September 8.


“I’ve been to them before with my sister,” Aziz said. “We sat with the hype squad–they were really loud. I think that’s cool. Sometimes they paint their whole body.”


These three freshmen had been to games before, as middle schoolers, but it felt different to be a West Potomac student at the game.


“I kind of look down on the middle schoolers now. I was like ‘oh my god,’” Andrzejuk laughed. “I mean, I obviously don’t care, but yeah.”


When asked if their parents were there, the freshmen were appalled.


“No, absolutely not,” Andrzejuk said. “My mom would be so embarrassing.”


While she had a good time at the game, Andrzejuk was unsettled by the police officers.


“All the police officers were behind the bleachers looking for kids doing stuff,” she said. “It’s never okay, obviously, but especially not at a school game. You can get in so much more trouble there than by yourself somewhere else.”


Substance abuse among members of the hype squad is not only illegal, but off-putting and frightening to many freshmen.


“A lot of people don’t go in the hype squad for that reason. There were a couple people that did go in the hype squad with me, but not my close friends,” Andrzejuk said. “They didn’t want to.”


While these freshmen are only spectators during football season, they intend to be  in the action for other sports. Andrzejuk is going to play lacrosse, Aziz is trying out for basketball, and Gustafson intends on playing ice hockey. Gustafson wants to expand the hype squad past football.


“I’m going to get more people to come to the hockey games, because they really only come to the playoff games,” he said.


Andrzejuk has even higher aims: being at the front of the student section.


“Leading the hype squad will be fun,” she said.


Despite the mixed experience, Andrzejuk is adamant about the advice she gives to future freshmen.


“Don’t stress,” she urged. “It’s gonna be a lot more fun than you think.”


Aziz felt that the game cemented his Wolverine pride, and will do so for future freshmen, too.


“It’s an opportunity to open up and actually feel part of West Potomac,” he said. “You’re showing your pride.”