Techsters swarm to join student-run cheering squad
By Rob Hill / STUDENT PUBLICATIONS
Swarm members cheer on the Tech football team in the North Stands of Bobby Dodd Stadium. The squad also has a B-League volleyball team that has finished a combined 15-3 in the past three semesters of competition.
Imagine you are a quarterback with the misfortune of facing the Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Although difficult, your team has fought their way downfield, and you now have a chance to score from inside the twenty. As you break the huddle you hear a deafening roar, causing you to glance up into the North stands. What you see is a wall of crazy, excited fans, all wearing yellow. Quickly looking away, you know that they are still there, watching and cheering against you. You know that their screams are like shots of adrenaline to the Jacket defense. Approaching the line your gaze drifts over to Nick Rogers, and then to Greg Gathers. You can’t help but know how much they want to take you down.
As the ball is snapped, you look to the primary receiver, who has just made his break for the end zone. But before you release the ball, your eyes float back to that sea of yellow in the North stands. The hesitation lasts only a moment, but a moment is all the defense needs for the sack.
As you pull yourself up from the ground, you take another look into the stands. The glare you shoot is one of disgust, because you know that you’ve just been beaten. And in case you forget, the members of the Swarm are there to remind you.
The Swarm was started in 1996 by Suzy Robinson as a part of the Ramblin’ Reck Club. Robinson started the organization because she felt there was a need for more organized cheering at home football games. The original Swarm consisted of 250 crazy fans in the Northeast corner of the football stands.
Since its beginnings, the Swarm has grown at a remarkable rate. What began as only 250 fans, the Swarm has grown to its current size of 650 students. The demand to join Swarm this year was so great that the sign-up table was only open two hours before all open slots sold out.
While many freshmen are attracted to Swarm, its membership is fairly diverse.
“Swarm ranges from 1st years to 5th years, with everything in between,” said Swarm President Brian Alexy.
The young Swarm has already established its share of traditions. Two and a half hours before every home football game members of the Swarm line up on Yellow Jacket alley to cheer for the team as they come by. After that they go and pick up their tickets, which are reserved together in the North end zone of Bobby Dodd Stadium. After picking up tickets, Swarm members wait at the gate to the North stands, preparing for what has been called the “running of the Swarm.” As soon as the gate opens before the game, Swarm members rush into the stands in order to get a front row seat. In the Swarm block it doesn’t matter what the tickets say, seats are strictly first come, first serve.Recently, a new tradition has begun to emerge in the Swarm. After home games, the football team stops on their way to the locker room to sing the fight song with the Swarm.
Although one of the greatest benefits of Swarm is not having to wait in long ticket lines, Alexy thinks most students join for other reasons.
“Swarm is one of the best ways for students to come together and support Tech athletics. It gives many students a place to belong, especially those not involved in Greek organizations,” said Alexy.
In addition to attending varsity-sporting events, members of Swarm also form intramural teams each year, fielding teams for volleyball, basketball, and softball. The Swarm’s B-league volleyball team is quite competitive, boasting a 15-3 record over the past three semesters.
With only five years under its belt, Swarm is looking to get bigger and better. The goal of Swarm is to be the largest student-run cheering squad for college sporting events.