Where’s the Den?

Winters in Latrobe bring about Wildcat basketball. One of the highlights of the basketball season is the Wildcat Den, the student cheering section. The Den has a reputation for being one of the most loyal and loud fan sections in the WPIAL.  For the past two years, I have been attending the basketball games and I always remember a full, raucous Den.  This year seems to be different, though. The Den is rarely full and seldom raucous. It seems as though more students sit in the bleachers with the rest of the crowd while 20 or so Den members stand idly by in the student section.  What is the cause for the lack of enthusiasm in this season? Is it the team’s performance on the court, or is it the new leadership of the Den?

From the home games I have attended this year, Albert Gallatin, Hempfield, Connellsville, and Norwin, only Connellsville produced a good student atmosphere. There were chants, screaming, and the Den even rushed the court following an upset of the division leader. Ironically, the best performance of the year was followed by the clear and definite worst. On Tuesday, February 1, the Cats hosted Norwin in the first home game since Connellsville. The excitement apparently did not carry over as the Den contained a whopping 15 participants. It would not have been so bad if those had been the only students present, but the true irony was that the student body decided to sit in the bleachers with rest of the crowd, some even dressing for the theme of “super hero night.” Why they would bother to dress for the theme but not sit in the Den escapes me, but it happened.

The notion that the theme was to blame could not be the reason, so was it the team’s play? While the Wildcats aren’t bad this year, they are not challenging for the section title as they were last year. Surely this was why the students were not showing. The problem is that they were showing, just not in the Den.

Senior Carly Meholic is a leader of the Den; she is usually seen in the front row of every home game. She, like many Den faithful, is discouraged at the lack of support. “I don’t really know why the interest has decreased, but for those of us who have still been (in the Den), it has been pretty fun. It has been a shame to have the Den so empty our senior year, and I hope some upcoming seniors keep the traditions going.”

What ever the reason may be, it is sad that Latrobe has lost such a fun aspect of being a GLSHS student. The Den went from a symbol of student support and spirit to a sad display of apathy. It is a sad development that hopefully will not become the norm, because cheering for your team should never go out of style.