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Note to the Orange Brigade: I can’t hear you!

November 3, 2008

by Matt Kane

What happened to the Orange Brigade?

A season ago, and even at the beginning of this fall season, the Orange Brigade, made up of the Delano student section, stole the show when it came to keeping the crowd entertained at volleyball games, and even football games.

From what I saw Tuesday night when Orono visited Delano for a playoff game, the Orange Brigade’s colors are fading.

Actually, the orange seems to be dying out more than it is intensifying in more than one way.

First of all, where has all the orange gone? And, second, in the Brigade’s own words, I CAN’T HEAR YOUR.

Orange Brigade alumni would and should be furious over the lack of enthusiasm displayed by the members it left the keys to this unique fraternity to.

The likes of Cody Socher, Matt Silhacek, Bradey Lemmerman, Perry Ditty, Shane Caslavka and, the infamous Tuba Stew never shut up, and that’s what made the Orange Brigade the best student section in the Wright County Conference, for sure.

How did the Orange Brigade get its name? From its members wearing Orange.

Tuesday, when I looked across the jungle at the student section, it looked like a bowl of Halloween candy. Sure, there was some orange, but only a few speckles mixed in with the assortment of blacks, blues, greys, pinks and other colors worn by the half-hearted brigadiers.

Last season, the student section was like a solid block of orange, even when it went to the Xcel Energy Center for the state volleyball tournament.

There may not be another Cody Socher to lead this group, but someone has to step up.

After Tuesday’s volleyball match, I asked a student why the Orange Brigade was so quiet. The student said some members were worried any chants towards the Orono players would get a response from Spartans fans about the 39-0 whooping Orono put on Delano this fall on the football field.

Excuse me?

Let me get this straight, Delano students are keeping quiet because they are afraid of getting some smack back? Sounds like intimidation to me.

A big strength of the Orange Brigade is that it doesn’t back down from anybody. Hello. Friendly verbal fire is what makes the atmosphere at a high school sporting event that much better. And, when the visitors are from Orono, those verbal chants should be machine-gunning across the court from both sides. A rivalry on the fields and courts and between the student sections is what the Orange Brigade should want.

Fans love the different chants that go back and forth across the gymnasium between student sections, and the goofy skits put on by the Orange Brigade are big hits. Parents from last year’s volleyball team commented all the time on how awesome the Brigade was. I haven’t heard those comments this year.

I guess the Brigade did the roller coaster skit Tuesday, but I didn’t see the “Fishing Trip.” And what happened to the gorilla getting chased across the floor?

The fall season is drawing to a close, but the Orange Brigade doesn’t’ have to be limited to football and volleyball. The two Tiger basketball teams use the same gymnasium and hockey is just up Tiger Drive. It’s a long winter season, and it will be even longer without the Orange Brigade of old.

This column isn’t as much a complaint as it is a challenge to the current member of the student section to revive the Orange Brigade.

If senior classmen are too lame to get the crowd going, I challenge the juniors and sophomores to take the reins.

Bring back the orange, bring back the school pride, bring back the noise, bring back the comedy and find your own Tuba Stew.

Bring back the old chants and the old skits, but also invent some new ones. And these chants don’t all have to have the same cadence.

If we could get the high school band to play for more than one set or one half, that would also be great. The Orange Brigade and the band for an entire game, now that would be awesome.