It’s Friday night, the football team is up by one touchdown and the crowd is going wild. One section in particular is drawing attention. They are dressed all in white and throwing powder into the air, even going so far to have “cheer-offs” against the cheerleaders.
The Northwood Nuthouse is seemingly an extension of the cheerleading squad and can often be heard chanting, “I believe that we will win!” Every time the other team gets a penalty, chants of “You can’t do that!” fill the air. The group of students can be seen having a good time while rooting on the football players at almost every game, including some away games.
“You get to make a lot of friends, meet a lot of people and it’s the one time that I don’t dress up [in fancy clothes], unless it’s to be in a crazy costume. Enthusiasm is in my blood, so it’s certainly the one time for me to have fun,” said senior Brandon Kelly, a “very proud member” of Northwood’s Nuthouse.
The Nuthouse had previously been limited to basketball games, but since the creation of a football Nuthouse as an attempt to create more school spirit, the number of people involved in the co-curricular has increased.
“Nuthouse in the past has only gone to basketball games, and last year it seems like it was even fewer basketball games,” Nuthouse advisor DeLisa Cohen said. “Every football game, the number of kids in stands has increased.”
At the end of the football season, the number of members is expected to receive a large boost, thanks to all of the football players who are soon going to be free to join in.
“I’ve always wanted to be a Nut and I want to show my school spirit as much as I can and get very wild,” senior football player Tyler Whitaker said.
The still growing group of over 60 members started off with just four students in 2006. One of those four was Alex Hart, now the head basketball coach.
“It kind of just started off as just something silly to do during the game and we called ourselves the four horsemen,” Hart said. “It was really neat to watch it become a thing from where there were only four people to the point it was like they had a seven-nation army.”
The club is focused on boosting school spirit and aims to make sure that everyone is involved.
“My goal is to just create more school spirit, more unity and have everyone take ownership of the school,” Cohen said. “I’d like to create an atmosphere where everybody is positive and everybody feels welcome.”
With the numbers of Nuthouse on the rise, future plans for boosting membership and school spirit are already in the works.
“We want to try and have a Nuthouse at every sporting event, but it’s kind of hard since we’re just starting this year,” senior Nuthouse president Karen Vanderford said. “We’re just trying to stick to the main sports this year just to grow and get bigger and better.
Most Nuthouse members share the same reason for joining the Nuthouse: to boost school spirit and to wear fun outfits.
“I joined Nuthouse because all of my really good friends are in it,” senior member Alexa Bernard said. “I thought that the football team deserved a little bit more support because we really didn’t have a Nuthouse for them last year; also it’s a lot of fun to dress up and be crazy.”
Some people, however, are not as supportive of Nuthouse.
“It’s not that I don’t like Nut- house, it’s just that I think a majority of the cheers they do don’t go along with the way that the football game is going,” senior Peyton Walker said. “They’ll cheer ‘Scoreboard!’ like, ‘Look at the scoreboard, we’re beating you really bad,’ at the start of the second quarter, when the game still has a lot of time to be played.”
Even though they are supposed to be supportive of each other, cheerleaders find themselves in conflict with the Nuthouse.
“We spend four years cheering [the football team] on and [Nuthouse] comes out of nowhere,” an anonymous cheerleader said. “And now [Nuthouse] is getting a bus for the game, everybody likes them more than us, people are always tweeting about them, they don’t appreciate the cheerleaders and at the pep rally football shouted out Nuthouse and they didn’t shout out [the cheerleaders]. We’ve cheered them on for every single game. [Nuthouse] cheers over us sometimes. We put in effort and stay after school for practice coming up with cheers and [Nuthouse] make us look not as important.”
Members of the Nuthouse acknowledged these problems but believe them to be solved.
“In the beginning of Nuthouse we kind of clashed with the cheerleaders a little bit, but as the season went on we started cheering with them and all the cheerleaders seem to like us now,” said vice president, and senior, Nolan Brown. “We just have fun, and there’s not that many cheers that you can really do, so we just do something fun to get the team hyped.”
-By Elizabeth Thompson