What’s it like to be a Bells’ 6th Man
written by: Nick Round, Bellarmine Senior and member of the 6th Man/Blue Crew
photo by: Evan Noronha
The term “6th Man” comes from the idea that a big enough student section can create a 6th player for their respective team by making noise and supporting their high school.
Walking around the campus of my high school, Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, California, the brotherhood that I experience with my classmates is visible everyday. When I talked to my close friend David Gutierrez, class of 2013, about the Bellarmine brotherhood that he experiences, he immediately connected brotherhood with sports at Bellarmine; “We love our school. We feel that team sports are a large part of building school chemistry amongst the student body. It shows how tight knit of a community that we are”. As David pointed out, and as most students would agree, the brotherhood atmosphere at Bellarmine is most noticeable during sporting events throughout the year, and especially at basketball games.
Unlike at football games or baseball games, basketball games provide students the ability to create themes such as “60’s Jazzercise” or “Army” night; where you would see every student dress in bright, tight pants or cover their faces in cameo face paint. The best theme this year, however, displayed an entire Bellarmine student section in a whiteout theme with students sporting phrases on the front of their white t-shirts such as “I’m on Sam’s team”. That night the students showed their support to our fellow Bellarmine student, Sam Callahan, who passed away earlier that week after a long battle with cancer. For a different perspective on the 6th Man, I asked Isaac Gayles, senior leader of the Varsity basketball team, how much the student section at Bellarmine means to the team; “You guys get us pumped up and I’m always excited to see the student section show up all in one big group. It definitely means a lot when you guys shout, “We Love our Team”, at the end of every game”.
As a senior I enjoy seeing freshmen and sophomores commit to the designated theme at the games, and subsequently experience this Bellarmine brotherhood early on in their years at Bell. I spoke with Jimmy Castles, class of 2014, about why he felt compelled to join the Bellarmine 6th Man experience as a freshman and a sophomore; “It’s a tradition carried down from alumni, such as my brother Johnny (class of 2012). I feel like I am part of the team and I can make a positive impact towards helping the team win”.
The Bellarmine 6th Man is not merely a group of students that dress up in crazy themes, but a band of brothers that want to contribute as much as they can to help their team win games in the competitive and unforgiving West Catholic Athletic League. As a student section we pride ourselves on cheering with the utmost sportsmanship towards the opposing team and their respective fans, and we always end each game with a chant: “We Love our Team”. That is what the 6th Man at Bellarmine is all about.