by Matt Tulli
In the lower right corner of the south stands of Biemesderfer Stadium resides the NUMBER ONE student section in the Lancaster-Lebanon League. We call ourselves Comet Nation, and we’re louder and prouder than the competition.
Recently, Penn Manor was voted as the number one fan base in the L-L League, as Mr. Roth told us at the Homecoming pep rally on October 10th, and a large part of that is because of Comet Nation who shows up game in and game out, even going as far away as Dallastown to cheer on the Comets.
It all starts with the “Comet Boys”, who bring the energy each Friday night. Every year, the craziest and most spirited incoming seniors are designated as the “Comet Boys”; they write “COMETS!” across their chests and scream and yell their heads off for 48 minutes a game. The 2014 Comet Boys are: Jack Elliot (C), Mike Coakley (O), Nate Deberdine (M), Wyatt Barnett (E), Joey Dell’Estate (T), Nick Kirk (S), and Colin Groff (!). The Comet Boys are the leaders of chants, like “Let’s Go Comets,” “Move the Chains,” and of course, “Comet Nation!” Usually, the Comet Boys declare a theme for the members of Comet Nation to follow; for example, at the McCaskey game, we all wore silly hats. At the Lampeter-Strasburg game, the theme was Red, White, and Blue night in honor of the armed forces (it was Military Night), and at home against Manheim Township, the theme was pink for the district-wide breast cancer awareness week.
Not to mention, of course, how would these experiences be remembered if it wasn’t for our photographer, Will Forrey?
“I got asked to take pictures, and I wasn’t really up for the idea because I would have to focus on that more than the game itself,” Will says. “But I got a free Comet Nation T-Shirt for doing it and I was promised to be picked as a Comet Boy for next year, so I decided to do it.” Will takes hundreds of high-quality pictures per game and posts them on the Comet Nation 2014 Facebook page. The Comet Boys also run a Twitter account, @CometNation2014.
The game at Hempfield, in particular, was amazing. The theme was orange in memory of Greg Frey, and Comet Nation got a very large turnout, about the size of most of our home games. The Comets fell behind 17-7, but roared back in the second half. We were going crazy.
“I got so hype just because: number one, its Hempfield, but number two, it was a great game. Even though we didn’t play well in the first half, we bounced back and took over in the second half. But also the theme was in memory of Greg, so it was cool to see his parents taking pictures of us and seeming so happy of what we were doing,” remarked junior Jacob Herr.
Last year, as a freshman, I didn’t experience Comet Nation as much as I should have. I would occasionally venture into the back rows of it and stay there for only about a quarter per game. But this year, I’ve come to every game I could and screamed my throat sore (the only aftereffect of Friday nights). But freshman: I promise you this: Standing in the student section the entire game is much more fun than anything else you can do at a Penn Manor football game. But this year, I’ve been in the student section for every game except for the CV game, when I was on vacation. The atmosphere is amazing: you’ll meet new friends, support your Comets, and overall just have a good time.
The only thing that I don’t like about Comet Nation is that there is a very small turnout for basketball games. I remember back in many recent seasons (especially 2006-2007 when the Comets made it the whole way to the State Quarterfinals) when our basketball team was always at the top of the section, the Student Section almost always took up nearly the entire two section on the left side of the bleachers. The gym was packed with reporters, students, and fans alike. The atmosphere was always amazing in the East Gym. Now, we only take up maybe twelve rows of stands and we aren’t loud at all.
So this winter, I challenge Comet Nation to get the East Gym looking like this again: