New club aims to increase school unity and boost support for under-attended sports

Formed this year, Paly Sixth Man advocates for stronger school spirit

Paly Sixth Man, a new club to be established this year, aims to further unify the school by increasing school support for all sports games, especially those that are less attended.

Though the club’s name may make it sound like an exclusive six-person team, it was actually inspired by basketball and meant to be all-inclusive.

“In basketball, there are five players on the court, and the ‘sixth’ are the fans,” senior Ariya Momeny said. “This club is dedicated to showing support for our sports teams both home and away.”

The club was started by seniors Kelly Branson and Alec Olmstead. The current administration (admin) team, however, has five total members, including seniors Momeny, Kevin Bowers and Claire Krugler.

According to Olmstead, the roles of the admins are to make sure everyone knows when and where the games are, to encourage people to attend events and to keep fans loud and engaged at games.

Though Olmstead and Branson were the founders, each admin holds an equal leadership role.

“It would be hard for two people to try and make every sporting event,” Olmstead said. “We are looking for other representatives for the other grades to help as well.”

The club’s public Facebook group, titled Paly Sixth Man, is primarily run by Bowers and Branson. Though the majority of its 73 prospective members are seniors, the club is open to everyone at Paly.

“We are trying to get the info out to all the grades,” Branson said. “It would be awesome if some younger grades got involved because then they could improve and add onto it in the future.”

To gain more publicity, club admins have already texted individuals in each of the grades to post about the new club in their respective class Facebook groups.

Similar clubs already exist at other schools, including Paly’s rival, Henry M. Gunn High School (Gunn). The idea to start it at Paly, however, started with a simple lunchtime conversation between Krugler, Branson and Olmsted.

In addition to increasing overall support at games, the club wants to focus on improving attendance at typically smaller games, such as volleyball and waterpolo.

“[These] are sports that are played during the fall seasons, but most students only go to football games or big Central Coast Section games,” Branson said. “All the sport teams work hard and deserve to get recognized and supported.”

Part of the competitive incentive to start this club was to show Gunn that Paly is just as, if not more, spirited than Gunn. More importantly, though, club admins wanted to increase unity of the entire school.

“We want to help promote school spirit outside of spirit week and really bring the different grades together,” Branson said.
The only club requirement listed on the Facebook group is “school spirit,” but Branson added that members are expected to go to meetings, learn about the different sports and attend as many games as possible.

For now, club members are expected to transport to games and pay for admission on their own. As the club grows, however, it hopes to offer transportation and ticket deals.

“At the moment, the best method is carpooling,” Momeny said. “However, I’ve been talking to Mrs. Bowers, the Athletic Director, and for really big away games, we may be able to get buses to help take the fans. We just want to bring the home field advantage to away games in an easy way for both the fans and athletes.”

Once the club is up and running, members will receive custom-made t-shirts to wear at games so that they can be easily identified.

“Though the shirts are not mandatory, it would be cool to have everyone wearing the shirts or Paly colors at the game,” Branson said. “I’m sure different people have different visions, but I really just hope this club can be a fun way to show Paly pride and support each other as a community.”