Student section name change more than just free t-shirts
By P. Erik Meyer ’14
“Where’s your red? Where’s your red? Where’s your red?”
That is what students can expect to hear from the Red Army if they are wearing anything but red to a Brophy event this year.
Director of Student Activities Mr. Tony Oldani along with the Student Council rebranded the Brophy student section from “Game Day” back to the Red Army, a title it held until the 2000’s.
“Huge, it’s huge,” said head football coach Mr. Scooter Molander, when asked about the impact of the crowd. “I can’t emphasize that enough, I love the return of the Red Army.”
Thus far the rebranding appears to be a success.
“The entire stands being in red, Mr. Oldani going back to that is brilliant,” Mr. Molander said. “Game Day was nice, the Red Army is awesome.”
The Red Army has come out in force this year. For the Santa Margarita game Aug. 25 there were 8,000 people in attendance, according to an Arizona Republic report.
“It makes a huge difference not only knowing that we are supported, but the other team sees that,” Mr. Molander said. “It’s not just that there is a bunch of people in the stands. The other team and the other coaches know that there is a reason that there are people in the stands, that they love and are proud of their school, that we are a family, a community and that is a beautiful thing.”
Mr. Oldani said part of the reason for the change to the Red Army was to spread school spirit to more than just sports.
“We just wanted to move away from the Game Day theme we had the last few years because in large part I felt it limited what we could be excited about,” Mr. Oldani said. “It tended to make all activities sports centered instead of campus centered.”
To make the move official every student, faculty and staff and even maintenance member received a “Red Army” shirt to start the year.
The change was more in-depth than just handing out t-shirts to the entire school though.
“It was comfortable to me, when I thought of the spirit of this place, that is what I most identified with,” Mr. Oldani said about the entire rebrand of the Brophy student section. “Part of it was trying to merge both something old and traditional with the school that the alumni would be aware of with something new that the current students could grab onto and make their own.”
According to Mr. Oldani, the Game Day theme was more focused around the freshmen whereas the Red Army is campus wide.
“We wanted to magnify it this year so instead of giving the freshmen shirts we decided to give the shirts to everybody, every faculty member, every staff member, every Loyola kid and every student on campus,” Mr. Oldani said.
So far the Red Army has traveled even to a game 45 minutes away from Brophy at Boulder Creek.
“I just went to the Wednesday night away football game,” Mr. Oldani said. “We had packed bleachers, all the kids in their red army shirts. Fast-forward that to the Santa Margarita game and we had one of the biggest tailgates I’ve ever seen in my 17 years here, every kid was in their Red Army shirt.”
Students take the lead
Although the Red Army was reintroduced by administration and Student Council, students have taken the lead from there.
“The easiest physical manifestation of it is, don’t show up to a football game right now in anything but a red shirt because spontaneously the students will start the ‘where’s your red chant,’” Mr. Oldani said. “For me, that was very cool the first time I heard them doing that because students had taken ownership of wearing red to the games.”
The hope is for the Red Army not to just show up at season openers or big games but for all games, no matter the importance.
“You could tell at the Santa Margarita game when the No. 2 team in the nation comes in and we barely lose to them, so it definitely has had an impact,” said Taylor Wood ’15. “We are hoping to continue that trend throughout the year not just for the big games like Santa Margarita and St. Mary’s but for all the games.
Mr. Oldani said he hopes that students take the Red Army not just to football games but to all student events to support their classmates.
“We are planning a Red Army tailgate for one of the nights of the play, so that when the actors look out into the audience there are all the kids in their Red Army shirts supporting their classmates,” Mr. Oldani said. “It’s important that everybody experiences as much of this place as possible, that’s the goal for the Red Army this year.
According to Mr. Oldani, the Red Army shirts will most likely be handed out to everyone every year but change in the shirt’s style and content remains to be seen.
“There is something cool about a guy 10 years from now getting the same Red Army shirt that you got and that you go to the football game and it is the exactly like everybody else’s,” Mr. Oldani said. “It’s been really cool the way the campus has embraced it.”
The future of the shirt itself is not the main concern for the Red Army though.
“The Red Army has been rejuvenated from last year, we’re a lot louder, a lot more enthusiastic and it has been more difficult for other teams to win when we’re at home,” Woodsaid.
Red Army shirts for sale in Varsity Shop
The Varsity Shop helped to hand out close to 1,500 Red Army t-shirts this year to every student, faculty member, administrator and Loyola Academy student.
The Red Army shirts are on sale in the Varsity Shop for about $5, which is how much the shop purchases them for.
“We sold them to parents and Xavier students at cost so we didn’t make any money on the shirts,” Mr. Tony Oldani said. “Now the Varsity Shop has six or seven different lines of Red Army things. It has blown up nicely and is a rallying point for the year for a lot of people.”