Archive for Thursday, May 11, 2006

Opinion: Dust off the green

May 11, 2006

The playoffs are coming! The playoffs are coming!

Excited? Well, if you aren't, you ought to be.

In the next eight days all five spring sports at Basehor-Linwood High School will be in regional action, with seasons on the line and tensions building with each pitch, race, fairway shot or corner kick.

Now's the time for everyone who hasn't made it out to a game or meet to redeem themselves by cheering on the Bobcats in the second season.

Don't think your cheers make a difference? They do. Fan support can turn around a game, simultaneously giving one team a lift and intimidating the other.

If you've ever been to a Kansas basketball game you know what I'm talking about. The students are up on their feet the whole game and most leave Allen Fieldhouse hoarse.

There's chanting, stomping, clapping, waving, screaming, anything to distract the opposition and give the Jayhawks an adrenaline rush. There's a reason Kansas always has a better record at home than on the road; it's not a coincidence.

But even the craziest Kansas versus Missouri game can't compete with the home field advantage I saw when I was over in Italy for a semester. I was lucky enough to go to a soccer game between Chievo Verona and Udinese, two professional teams in Italy's top division.

Chievo and Udinese were two teams from nearby towns who, I was told, were big rivals. The game was in Verona and it was quite an experience. The yellow-clad Chievo supporters pulled out all the stops, some even lighting off flares and fireworks.

Now, I'm not suggesting that BLHS fans go out to the regional games with fireworks, but they could adopt some of the other Verona methods.

Wear green, make signs and banners, make up some chants or slogans. At the very least make noise.

The spring sports don't have the luxury of cheerleaders, so it's up to the fans to get creative.

Of course, it all starts with just being there. Yes there's a lot of good excuses for not coming out to the games. There's homework to do, the weather's not always nice and a lot of students have their own sports to think about during the spring.

But you never know what you're going to miss. This past Monday, just a couple miles down K-7 in Bonner Springs, Kristal Holland took the mound and tossed a perfect game. That's a special feat that doesn't happen too often, even with a great pitcher like Holland.

When Holland faced the last batter in that game there should have been a host of Bobcats up on their feet in the stands, chanting, hooting, hollering and basically just doing everything they could to let Holland know they were behind her.

Instead there were about 20 fans, mostly parents, gamely trying to lead the cheers, but not getting anywhere near the volume one would expect for a potential perfect game.

There's still time to get out and cheer for the Bobcats and, in fact, now is when they need it the most.

From May 15-19 there's going to be a number of regional playoff contests that the athletes are going to pour their hearts into. Seasons will end for some. For others, entire high school careers will. Be there.

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