The pandemic stripped us of many things––social interaction at its core. For the first time in decades, there were no Friday night football games in the fall for students to socialize and cheer at. No roaring crowd, no heart-pounding atmosphere, and no student section. When sports events did return, they either had no spectators or limited spectators, excluding the possibility of packing stands with people, all anxious to feel the adrenaline rush of cheering with fellow students.
For the first time in over eighteen months, Orange Lutheran held a pep rally on August 20th. Next, the first home football game––with a student section––came on August 27th. Finally, Code Red has returned.
In the past, Code Red was known for its boisterous crowd and exciting themes. That didn’t change through the pandemic. Code Red made a full comeback on August 27th, packing the Orange Coast College stands with neon-dressed Lancers, cheering on their players to a 21-7 win over Upland High School. The following week, Lancers packed the stands even fuller in their Western gear to watch a nail-biting game against Edison. Code Red went ballistic when Junior kicker, Dieter Kelly, made the field goal to seal the 23-21 victory over Edison with less than a minute to go. Kelly explains that after the successful kick, he was overwhelmed with the satisfaction of his work in the sport being displayed in the key moments of a game. He also describes that the wild support of the student section following the kick made him feel very accomplished. Overall, Kelly feels as though Code Red “unifies the school” and that his team will continue to thrive off of the support of Orange Lutheran students.
Code Red was awarded with Student Section of the Week in North Orange County by OC Student Sections, an Instagram account with over seven thousand followers that keeps tabs on all student sections in Orange County. Orange Lutheran ASB Co-President, Garrett Atwater, believes that the pandemic made it clear that “community is built at a student section.” He expresses excitement over Code Red’s comeback and his determination to support the teams of Orange Lutheran. Atwater also describes the atmosphere of Code Red to be the “best part” of games due to the cheering “[getting] louder and [leading] to a great game.” The return of student sections isn’t just exciting for Orange Lutheran––it is quite literally game changing.
This comeback is something you don’t want to miss. Code Red has already shattered expectations, and will continue to do so throughout the home games of sports seasons this year. Make sure to come see Code Red in action at the next home football game on October 8th––an experience you will remember for the rest of your life. For more information on Code Red and it’s journey, follow @olucodered on Instagram. Go Lancers!
A special thanks to Dieter Kelly and Garrett Atwater for responding and being a part of this article! Another thank you to Brooke Van Essen for the amazing photo of Code Red.
Photo Credit: Brooke Van Essen