‘Canes Nation on fire
Amherst Regional High School’s fan section, also known as ‘Canes Nation, has been filled with devoted fans of various sports since its uprising.
The Nation’s main goal is “to have the most lit fan section in Western Mass,” said senior Will Budington, a player on the varsity basketball team. “There’s no better feeling than being in a crowd that great. I love it.”
Members of the cheering squad claim to have the most enthusiastic fan section of any team.
“Having played every big school in Western and Central Mass, [I can say], we have the best section,” said Budington.
Most people interviewed agreed that seniors Tim Felton, Noah Speigel, Harry Wolff-Landau, Samson Heyer, and Jonah Kane are the leaders of this student-based organization.
One thing ‘Canes Nation prides itself on is their enthusiasm, unity, and desire to create team and community spirit.
“Anyone can join,” said Wolff Landau. He added, however, “If you only come to talk with your friends don’t stand with us.”
“We are all in this together,” said Kane. “We are there to help our team win, and get in their heads.”
As is the case with sports fans everywhere, this fan group has occasionally gotten rowdy or insulted other teams, but those past actions were not without consequences.
Chants like “Warm up the bus,” and “It’s all over,” came with reprimands from administrators.
ARHS campus monitor Marc Keenan and Dean of Students Mary Custard have been known to even remove students from a game for unacceptable behavior.
‘Canes Nation fans sometimes yell “Free boys” when their peers are being disciplined as a verbal show of support to them.
Each game comes with wardrobe requirements for spirit that individuals choose whether to follow.
Most of the time they involve the school colors, maroon and white; however they can be as elaborate as the recent “beach day” for the varsity basketball Western Massachusetts semifinals.
“We brainstorm as a senior class and decide what people want to do the most,” said Kane.
Others said the basketball team might have specific ideas for fan dress or behavior.
Although Principal Mark Jackson has had discipline issues with members of ‘Canes Nation in the past, he only positive things to say on the loudspeaker after the varsity boys’ basketball semifinal loss on March 10.
“[We had] the loudest, largest, most color-coordinated, and the best fan section I’ve ever seen,” he said to the student body.
The members of ‘Canes Nation are saddened by the thought of losing this hyped community after graduating from the high school.
They are hoping the spirit they worked so hard to build stays alive in the years to come.
“We need underclassmen to stand up,” said Felton. “If any underclassmen want to be a part of it and want the torch passed down [to them], let me know.”