Olivia Sunderlik ’21: As football season began, fans became eager to cheer on the Romeo Bulldogs; however, COVID-19 restrictions provided challenges for the community. Governor Whitmer and the MHSAA imposed multiple safety restrictions. The most notable of those rules included a reduced number of fans. Because of this, only football players, cheerleaders, and a limited number of parents and fans attended the games.

While fans knew these decisions provided safer conditions, the news disappointed students, athletic clubs like dance and band, and other members of the community unable to return. This disappointment lasted for only a few weeks due to football capacity restrictions recently experiencing a drastic and exciting change.

On September 25th, Governor Whitmer passed Executive Order 183, increasing the overall capacity for both indoor and outdoor sports events. For Romeo football games, the venue allows up to 1000 spectators, or 30% of the overall seating capacity. This news means that students, dancers, band members, parents, and some other community members hold the opportunity to attend games to cheer on the Romeo Bulldogs. 

When coaches notified Romeo Dance Team of the news, dancers felt ecstatic. Just weeks earlier, they found out they could not perform at the games. The feelings of letdown quickly changed into feelings of thrill and joy when the dance team coaches delivered the news. Pries could not believe the new updates, since the MHSAA appeared very set on their decision.

“I felt excited and surprised because they seemed so sure that we wouldn’t perform at a game,” Pries said.

Romeo Band members held the same emotions. The unexpected news made the Romeo band surprised and delighted. The band performance provides an essential component of Friday nights, so their return generates much excitement.

“I love band, so of course I was excited! ,” Drum Major Sam Lovell ‘21 said.

Football players, cheerleaders, dancers, and band members all provide an intrinsic part to Friday nights. In very confusing times, the game, the cheers, and the newly added halftime performances provide a sense of comfort and normalcy for Romeo. 

Executive Order 183 helps not only the teams but also students and other members of the community. Due to increased capacity, the games permit a number of students to attend. The past week, the athletic office sold tickets to those who wished to come to the game, putting priority on senior and junior students. Because of this, the football games contain a cheering fan section once again. With this fan section, the school expects all fans to social distance and wear masks in the stands.

The new updates excite the Romeo community. While various things remain quite unusual, students, participants, and others received great surprises, like football games, that seemed unlikely to return this year. Because of this, the students enjoy a more normal friday night again.

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