Keeping student morale high during TCU football games may have been difficult this season after losses to both Baylor University and SMU.
But TCU HyperFrogs is one campus organization that remains dedicated to raising Horned Frog spirit.
According to the organization’s website, HyperFrogs has two main goals: supporting TCU varsity athletics and promoting good sportsmanship on campus.
Members stand at the front of the stadium’s student section during, carrying a large banner bearing their name.
Many times, members were “painted up” in purple, wearing spirit tattoos and loudly reciting chants.
HyperFrogs president and junior nursing major Chassity Peyton said her main focus as a leader of the organization was to get TCU students to actively participate in the games.
“We try to influence the student body to be really cheerful and to have spirit, and to not just sit there and watch the game, but to actually cheer and try to motivate our team,” Peyton said.
HyperFrogs could consistently be seen jumping, cheering and motivating players.
Members also interacted with other spirit organizations, such as the TCU Band, during stand tunes, dancing and singing along to the fight song.
HyperFrogs adviser Yvonne Giovanis said the organization’s vivacity came from its broad spectrum of student members.
“[HyperFrogs] is a place where any student, regardless of major, organizational affiliation, geographic background or cultural inclination, can come together under the banner of Horned Frog spirit and help raise that up,” she said.
It was this organization that interacted with students, especially during exciting moments in each game, encouraging them to start up the “Riff Ram” chant during suspenseful plays, Giovanis said.
But Amon G. Carter Stadium was not the only place where the HyperFrogs displayed their strong school pride. The organization was starting to incorporate “stealth missions” on campus at random times of the week.
A group of HyperFrogs members go to random areas on campus during these missions, such as dorm rooms or common areas.
Then, they would immediately erupt into cheers and chants, catching students off guard but encouraging them to show their school pride, freshman accounting manager and stealth mission coordinator Brielle Banks said.
These missions are a great way for her to show her own school spirit, Banks said.
“In high school, I was that one crazy person, where it could be 8 in the morning, and I’ll be at a pep rally screaming and being really spirited,” Banks said. “So, coming to TCU, I found that HyperFrogs was just perfect for me.”
She said students usually reacted positively to these stealth missions.
One new challenge HyperFrogs have met this year was encouraging students to keep that positivity during games, even if the team was losing.
Compared to this past year’s undefeated, Rose Bowl championship season and 2009’s one-loss, BCS Bowl season, some students have had strong reactions to the losses to Baylor and SMU this season.
Peyton said she had seen some students acting their worst, being condescending to the opposing team and, at times, to their own team’s players.
HyperFrogs worked to discourage students from this behavior by getting them to channel the passion of their negativity for the other team into positive support for their own team.
“We’re trying to be good sports and lead by example,” Peyton said. “Even though we’re losing, it’s OK. It’s not a big deal. Maybe if we start cheering, we’ll start winning. Just cheer and don’t worry about [the other team]. We’re here for our team, not for theirs.”
Banks said the organization led by example through promoting what they called “good, clean fun.”
Members avoided drinking alcohol at games, using foul language and creating a negative environment.
Giovanis, who was also the associate director at the campus Drug and Alcohol Education Center, said because of this philosophy, the organization was always “camera ready” during games.
“Athletics knows they can always put their focus on this group of students who are head-to-toe purple, loud, excited, cheering, staying through the entire game,” she said. “They aren’t going to be ‘flipping the bird,’ cursing, having inappropriate signs, getting intoxicated or getting into fights.”
A topic of concern for HyperFrogs during the week of the SMU game was the vandalism happening to students’ vehicles on both campuses and the general attitude between students from each university during the game.
Peyton said she wanted students to avoid that kind of bad behavior and focus on supporting their own team, rather than demoralizing students on the opposing end.
She also recognized how easy it was for students to get emotional about the game, but said it was always better to stay positive and convince the crowd to hope for the best.
In fact, Giovanis held TCU students to that positive standard and expected the campus to be respectful.
“It does take a little more fortitude to rise above negative behavior,” she said. “Sometimes, it’s easier to be negative during games. Our students are better than that. If athletes can get along with athletes, our community should get along with other communities.”
Despite the losses the team has had this year, Giovanis remained hopeful for the promotion of school spirit and said she believed HyperFrogs were doing their best to see to that goal.
“There’s Horned Frog spirit no matter where you’re going,” she said. “Whether in the stadium or not, this is who we are. We are Horned Frogs.”