We older folks like to talk about the good old days when things were better. For instance, we like to talk about how the crowds were better for sporting events and school spirit was better. We like to talk about how kids these days have too many distractions that keep them from being invested in their school. We like to talk about the lack of pride that kids have in their schools and their sports teams.
Anybody who saw the Henry County pep section at the 8th Region tourney would be lying if they said they had seen more school spirit and pride. On Friday night, the Henry County student body packed their designated section, which was not even their accustomed spot during the regular season. In fact they were wedged in shoulder to shoulder during the Shelby County-Simon Kenton game that preceded the Wildcats’ game with Oldham County.
Not only did they pack the pep section, but they also displayed everything we old fogeys could want out of a student body. They were loud – no, raucous – and they continued to support the team to the bitter end, even when it was apparent that their beloved friends on the team would not make it past the mighty Colonels. Most importantly, they did it with class and sportsmanship. No taunting or foul language was to be heard. They just yelled their lungs out for their classmates and stuck around to console them long after the final buzzer had ended the Wildcats’ season.
It made me proud to be a Henry County alumnus. I congratulated several of the leaders of the pep section who were key to organizing the chants and getting so many of their fellow students into the stands. Among those diehard Cat fans a few stuck out as having been there the whole season for both the boys’ and girls’ teams.
First and foremost was Gio Rivera, who I dubbed the Voice of the Wildcats earlier this year because of his enthusiastic announcing for the home team through the last couple of years. Gio will be missed at Henry County High School next year. He is a kid who embodies the term school spirit. Gio was instrumental in getting the kids out and then making sure that they could be heard all the way to LaGrange.
Another senior, Ryan Stewart was there as usual in the front row rooting loudly for his team and letting the referees know when they blew a call.
Ryan is as passionate as Gio, and yet he showed great restraint late in the game when a fan from the opposing side decided it would be a good idea to come across to the Henry County side and taunt our kids. Ryan simply alerted school officials that a potentially explosive situation was about to occur and they took care of it from there.
Other super fans deserve credit too and I am probably leaving out some more kids who should share the spotlight, but four other kids who show up and make themselves heard at every game are worth mentioning. They are Tyler Singleton, Brennen Peniston, Jacob Bratton and Jakob Beckley. Along with Stewart and Rivera, these guys make up the core of what has been the best pep section seen at Henry County games in a long time.
So this old fogey would like to say thank you to the kids at Henry County for displaying the type of school spirit that every school should have but rarely does.
Don’t forget to get your brackets ready for our Henry Hoopla contest. They will be due into our office via mail, email or simply by walking it into the office before noon on Thursday, March 20. That means you only have three days to scope out the brackets after Selection Sunday. We will have brackets in the paper on March 19 but you do not have to use our brackets. Only one bracket per person will be accepted.
If you send your picks by email, please send them as an attachment so that we can more easily make a paper copy.
If you would like to fax them to the office, that is okay, however, we have had problems with print quality in the past and if your bracket is unreadable it will be automatically disqualified from the contest. The fax number is 845-2921.
Above all else – don’t forget to put your name on your bracket.Every year we inevitably have someone forget to put their name on their picks and, of course, those brackets are disqualified.
As for me, I have to redeem myself after last year’s mediocre showing. I didn’t even win at the office where I was by far the biggest sports fan. It was a humbling experience and I don’t want to go through that again.
I think this year there are a few teams that stand out but not by much. The early rounds as always will be the key to a good showing. One can stand a few first round flameouts but one cannot stand having half of one’s Sweet Sixteen gone before the round of 32 is completed.
I hate to say it but many Cats fans will have to swallow their pride and pick the Florida Gators to go a long way in the tournament. They are simply the best team in the nation right now. They are one of the best defensive teams in the nation and as us old coaches like to say, “Championships are built on defense.”
Which leads me to another team that will have Cats fans growling at me. ‘You-know-who’ down the road about 30 miles from here just finished off the regular season by holding a very good UConn team to less than 50 points.
You don’t think a repeat is possible do you?