Ladue High School's student news site

Ladue Publications

Ladue High School's student news site

Ladue Publications

Ladue High School's student news site

Ladue Publications

Return of the Rams

Return+of+the+Rams

Ladue High School hosted its first homecoming this past Saturday, Oct. 16 since 2019. Due to COVID-19, in 2020, all high school sports and events were cancelled, postponed or disrupted. This of course included Ladue’s homecoming game and the entire football season. While the football season began at a later date in the fall of 2020, the newly created traditions associated with the season came to a halt. Just a year prior in 2019 Ladue’s football stadium opened and the Friday Night Lights tradition began. Alongside the players, students and parents at the games were the Laduettes, cheerleaders, pep band and blue crew. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions and game schedule changes, the only people now allowed to attend games were the players themselves, the cheerleaders and a select number of parents. Junior Boston Lee, who was a sophomore last year, plays for the Ladue Rams football team. “There was a major difference in the energy of our team as a whole,” Lee said. “We had little time to prepare and very few games to play and learn from and our season started much later than usual.” 

Along with the absence of the parent and student section, the Laduettes were also unable to come to any games. Tori Thomas, a sophomore, was unable to dance last year due to most games being away and the limited number of spectators allowed. Now, her and the Laduettes are able to dance at every home game this season. “Last year when there were no students and no band or anyone, it was kind of lonely, but now that everyone’s there, it’s just great,” Thomas said. “It’s a great feeling of being with your school and your friends.”

Thomas went on to explain how the presence of a crowd and people watching her helped motivate her. She said it was rewarding experience to be seen in front of the school and the adrenaline rush from the hype their dances receive motivates her to do better. Lee also said how the energy from the students and parents helped him stay motivated and energetic, calling their presence a “morale booster.” 

While the Laduettes were unable to attend games last year, the Ladue cheerleaders traveled with the football team to every home and away game throughout the season. Senior Emma Smith’s first cheerleading season was last year’s football season. Despite the inconvenience and the lack of people to cheer for as well as the cancelation of homecoming and other festivities, Smith continues to cheer this season for football. “For me, not having certain festivities didn’t affect my cheer experience,” Smith said. “I felt like being on this team is a great opportunity and you’re surrounded by great people who make boring situations fun and enjoyable.” 

All three teams were affected by COVID-19  in many ways during last year’s football season, but the ability to cheer, dance or play in front of a crowd this year has brought back their love for their sports as well as their school spirit. “All summer we talked about how great it would be, if we were able to dance in front of the school during games again,” Thomas said. “When it was official, it was surreal. That moment was like the next chapter and it made me even more excited to be a part of my team.” 

For the cheerleading team, the news of no longer hearing that they would have to wear masks and hearing that home games would be a common occurrence this year was a relief for Smith and the entire team. “The team was struggling with having to go to every away game, which was pretty much everyone,” Smith said. “But this year we’re able to cheer at home and its’ improved my motivation so much. When you’re cheering to an empty stand there’s really nothing to get hype about, but when you’re cheering to a huge crowd and they’re into the game and getting hype, it makes you want to match their energy. Basically, this eason definitely tops last years.” 

The football team struggled last year in many ways. The inability to play at their home turf and the cold weather due to starting later in the season was a difficult transition from the previous year, but the hope of returning to a regular season helped the team enjoy their unconventional season. “We were focused on the small opportunity of a season we were thankfully able to play,” Lee said. “We just had to make the most of it. Just being able to play with that group of people last year was enough for me. I enjoy every moment I get to spend with my team and every moment on and off the field is a joy to me.” 

One thing is clear in all three teams, the love for each individual sport is strong enough to motivate them to push through a difficult year of uncertainty and seemingly unlimited restrictions. The presence of a filled student, parent and band section has certainly helped keep the energy up at games and the return of the Laduettes and home games has completed the Friday Night Lights tradition. “The biggest difference from last year to this year isn’t just the people, but the energy they bring,” Thomas said. “I’m just really excited for everything to go back to normal so we can have another great year.”

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About the Contributor
Avery Anderson
Avery Anderson, News Staff
Avery Anderson is a senior at Ladue. It's her second year on Panorama and she is the news editor. She loves writing of any kind, her friends, iced coffee, being dramatic, and Taylor Swift.
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