Teamer Field welcomes students back to the Pioneer Pit


By Alexis Costas, Multimedia Editor

The sun is setting at Teamer Field, but the season opener feels far from over as the home stands buzz with chatter and anticipation. Some are watching the game intently, following every play, while others talk with friends and classmates they haven’t seen in months. A good handful of people don’t really understand how the game works, but are happy just to be present. One thing unites all the attendees: as a player clad in garnet and grey sprints into the end zone, cheers from everyone fill the air. After a year of strict social distancing, students have returned to “pack the pit.”

For many Pioneers, this year was their first opportunity to attend a football game as a ’Stoga student. Sophomore Malaika Hamid went to the season-opening game against Owen J. Roberts and loved the sense of community she felt in the stands.

“I remember when I went to games in middle school, I did a lot of walking laps around the fence and I didn’t really watch (the game). This year I was in the student section and it was totally different even though I went with the same friends. I talked with lots of different people, and the game was really enjoyable,” Hamid said.

During the 2020-2021 football season, general admission was unavailable in accordance with COVID-19 health guidelines. Players were given two tickets per game that could only be redeemed by family members, meaning that most students were unable to attend. Although most games were recorded live by TETV, the buzz and excitement of physically being in the stands was missed by many.

Senior and varsity football captain Owen Ridder is glad to have fans back in the stands in person during his final year on the team.

“My favorite moment on the team this year was our win against Owen J. Roberts. I remember we blocked a field goal and when we all rushed the field, I looked up and saw a thousand fans looking back at us, and that was a crazy experience…the energy is so different when you have lots of fans watching versus just a few parents,” Ridder said.

Members of the marching band are also happy to be able to play for their classmates and community again. Junior and marching band member Charlie Susanin believes the return of students to the pit makes performing and the game itself more exciting.

“I think the energy at the football games is really different with both the band and all of the fans there. There’s a lot more noise and energy with everyone cheering for the team, and it’s a lot more fun this year. I get to watch football, play music, and have fun with my friends, which are all things I enjoy,” Susanin said.

Besides showing spirit and enjoying the classic American experience of going to high school football games, some students are happy to go just to be with friends and family. For freshman Zion Brown, the Friday night games are a chance to spend time with both.

“I like going (to games) to see friends and talk because there’s so many people hanging out in one place, but my parents usually come with me too. Usually I sit with them for part of the night and I feel like it’s nice quality time,” Brown said.

With another two months of the fall season remaining, there are still plenty of chances for students to attend games and pack the pit for not only the football team, but all of ’Stoga’s fall sports players. Senior Mark Robertson recommends that everyone seize the opportunity, especially if they haven’t already.

“I think it is kind of a high school stereotype, that everyone should go to the football games. But something I think Conestoga struggles with sometimes is unity, and I feel like the games are a place where we can all come together and cheer on the same team,” Robertson said.

Ridder agrees that the games promote school unity, and encourages fans to come and watch the Pioneers play.

“Friday night lights are one of the biggest high school things, and I think every kid should experience them. It doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman or a senior, it’s great to come out, have fun and support the football team,” Ridder said. “Right now, (the team) is playing the best it has in a decade, so now is the time to come out and watch.”

Alexis Costas can be reached at [email protected]