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Girmindl's Ghost

A diary of Shaker High School's 2005-2006 basketball season, a retelling of Shaker's fabled 1979-1980 season, and general commentary on high school hoops, updated daily...

"I like sitting in the back row. I found that sitting against the wall is just easier on your back." -Dean Smith, on the comfort of the H-gym bleachers

Student Section cheering

Student Section Cheering: I don't have any statistical proof of this, but I'm pretty sure that the following hypothesis is true:

"Student-section cheers at high school basketball games exhibit a positive correlation between the quality of the team and the obnoxiousness of the cheers."

That's a fancy way of saying that as the team gets better, the cheers become more obnoxious. In fact, I'm going to divide student-section cheering into 5 categories of team quality, and discuss the cheers that go with each one. At each level, you seem to get all the cheers from the preceeding levels, plus some new ones. That just how it works:

Level 1, the team downright stinks: This is the bottom of the barrell. Often, you'll get zero cheers because no one is at the game, or because no one at the game has much to cheer about. If you do get cheers, they will be of the traditional variety: Let's-go-Sha-ker! or S-H-S or DE-FENSE! You can forget about getting anything that remotely taunts the opposition.

Level 2, the team is under .500, but not by much: At this level, you get all the standard cheers and you get them basically constantly. You also might add in some classic positive cheers, like drawing out the last name of a player on the team - Sheeeh-haaaan, Sheeee-haaan! - or organized "hands-up / whoosh!" for foul shots.

Level 3, the team is over .500, but not necessarily league leaders: This is where the cheers definitely start to turn negative and obnoxious. But first, this is also the level at which fan interest starts to really build. The traditional cheers happen quite a bit at this level - often every trip down the court in a close game. But the obnoxious cheers also start here. Now, first let me say that I don't have any problem with obnoxious cheers, in fact I think I really like them. The classic obnoxious cheer is probably "Warm up the bus! Warm up the bus!" when the team takes a double-digit lead in the beginning of the 4th quarter. Alternatively, you might get the "Na,Na,Na,Na, NA,NA,NA,NA, HEY HEY HEY GOODBYE!" The difference is usually a matter of when the game is "over" - if it's early in the 4th and due to Shaker going on a 7-0 run, then it'll be "warm up the bus." If it's with 2 minutes left and the star of the opposing team fouls out on a charge call, it'll be "Hey Hey Goodbye." Other cheers that can be spotted at this point include:

You-can't-do-that! whenever the other team committs a foul,
Not-in-our-house! after blocked shots, particularly relevent this year, and
Buuuuullllll-shhhhhiiittttt! after bad calls by the ref.

And of course, clever fans might whip out "The ref beats his wife!" for some retro-humor when cheering for a level 3 team.

Level 4, the team is aiming for the section championship: This is where the cheers really take off. First off, fan interest in the games skyrockets at this point, so there are simply a lot more people there to join in the fun. Second, the games tend to fit one of two molds: blowouts against inferior teams or big matchups against other good teams. The classic, tell-tale sign of level 4 is "Boink," a cheer that I swear you never hear until you're dealing with really good teams [note that some schools - including Shaker in some years - use teh word bounce instead of the word Boink. I've always preferred the Boink version, but its the same cheer]. Boink is the practice of shouting boink [or bounce] every time the opposition takes a dribble on offense and pass every time they pass it. BOINK, BOINK, BOINK, BOINK, PASS! BOINK, BOINK, PASS! and so on. I have no idea where the cheer originated, but it absolutely, without a doubt, the sign of a good team, at least in my experience. You just never see this cheer until the team is very good. It's like the cheering equivalent of a swagger. Want to know how Shen is this year? Just find out if they are doing boink at the home games.**

The other classic level 4 cheers are the updated "Warm up the bus," which goes something like this...

The wheels on the bus go round and round

Round and round
Round and round
The wheels on the bus go round and round
All the way back to Shen!

...and the cheers that begin to engage the other teams cheering sections (which are usually only there at the "big game" matchups). These include: We-can't-here-you!, Still-can't-hear-you!, and Check-the-score-board! Against teams supposedly better than you, you'll often get a good over-rated, over-rated cheer. Another good cheer, remembered by reader Marc M., is the classic "We-go-to-coll-ege!" cheer that was whipped out vs. Colonie last year. Awesome.

It's also not uncommon at this level to see the following things: face painting, bare-chested men (with or without chest paintings), homemade signs, and group t-shirts. This is also the point when the student section is required to stand for the whole game. Additionally, you can get rarer cheers, like the jeopardy theme song during opposition time-outs or spontaneous cheers based on the actions of the opposing cheering section.***

Level 5, the team is sectional favorite, or has already won sectionals: Level 5 is basically just level 4 with the addition of two key element: homemade noisemakers and outrageous costumes. This level of obnoxiousness is usually reserved for playoff games. The only time I've ever experience level 5 with Shaker was at the 1991-92 state regional game at HVCC, after Shaker had won the sectional title. Not only did airhorns suddenly appear in the student section, but so did confetti, rice, and an entire troop of guys wearing grass skirts, clamshell bikinis, and cowboy hats. It was like someone down at the factory pressed the "take it up a notch" button. Because that's what happened. I've written previouisly about the moment frozen in my brain when Haver opened the regional game with a three pointer, but my actual first conscious thought after his basket was "Why am I being showered in rice?" It's very strange what the state tournament will do to a cheering section.

Additionally at level 5, not only do you have to stand during the game, but boink becomes pretty much required for all trips down the floor for the opposing team.

I think Shaker is currently in level 4 student section cheering. With any luck, we'll get to see level 5 by March.

**The reason I think Boink doesn't appear until level 4 has to do with the fan base. First, the cheer doesn't really work until a lot of people are willing to do it. It has to be loud. Secondly, the fans have to be pretty hardcore to get it going properly - you can't just do boink for 6 seconds, it pretty much has to go for the whole possession or it sounds silly. Both of the requirements typically mean you need a level 4 sized fan base to pull it off.

***A good example of this was in the 2005 Girmindl championship game against CBA. CBA's student section was doing their standard C-B-A cheer with that funny "hand-jive" motion, and the Shaker student section started doing a "What-is-th-is?" cheer while making the same motion. Classic.
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At 6:17 PM , Anonymous Danny said:

Awesome! Im 11 and I go to many basketball games for our 7th grade team. We start awesome cheers like "scoreboard" "you can't do that" "sprit fingers" and much much more! Im working on the boink boink pass cheer with em though! Great post! My favorite blog!    

At 2:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

I'm a senior at my high school and i'm the leader of our student sectoin. I love what you have so far. we'll definitly used the, boink boink boink, pass, boink boink, chant. We've done the "buullllll ssshiiitttttt" chant before, but since our administrators are real hard on us and our chants, we act as though we push something straight out from our chest so it sounds like we're saying, "push it".
And our favorite chant to do is have our pep band play drew carrey's theme song.. y'know? "CLEVELAND ROCKS! CLEVELAND ROCKS!".. but instead.. when we play our rivals, we just say "CEDAR CREST SUCKS! CEDAR CREST SUCKS!"

Mucho Gracias for all the ideas. i'll definitly show this site to my friends and we'll use some of the chants.    

At 10:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

this is pretty good i mean me and my boys do some crazy stuff we've dressed up like clowns with a "your a joke" sign...and we've dressed up like boxers with gloves a robe and we had a girl in a bikini walk by ever quarter holding a sign (exp. first quarter she walks by with a white sign that says "1" and so on)a different virsion of the "bull shit" chant is "push it" cause our school the teachers get on us about the bull shit so we say "push it" and make make a motion like ur pushing something with our hands or like ur standing up and bench pressing cause with a lot of ppl..it sounds like bullshit    

At 9:36 PM , Anonymous GarfieldGmen said:

If you are playing a team that you beat in football you can always go with the " let's play football " if you are losing and there student section chants something thats you cant cheer back too...    

At 9:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

alright i am a senior and have a lot of cheers..before the game u can do this i ..i ...i believe...i believe ..i believe that we will win...i believe that we will win.. i believe that we will win... i believe taht we will win.. the second one jumping and dancing... and the repeats arethe other people saying it... another scoreboard one is :is that the scoreboard and everyone answere. yes thats the scoreboard ..is that the right score... yes thats the right score..is that the winning team... yes thats the winning team...is that the losing team..yes thats the losing team..now point ...winning team...winning team...losing team losing team and repeatt    

At 3:28 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

i think you all missed the point in that the author is not pro-cheer.    

At 7:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

I'm a senior and we have a good cheer section, but im on our boys team which isnt great, so i am leader at the girls playoff games, and our favorite chant is during a time our the loudest yeller yells WHOOSE THAT?! and points at you teams bench and everyone yells WINNING TEAM! then he says WHOOSE THAT?! and points at other teams bench and everyone yells LOSING TEAM! then everyone points at your bench WINNGING TEAM! then everyone points at their bench LOSING TEAM! and keep repeating it, only works if your winning    

At 9:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

Nice! so im one of the leaders at our student section aka the stud section beacause we are an all guys school. We have really good chants like if the reff makes a bad call we say nuts and bolt nuts and bolts then the rest of us say we got screwed. or if we make a big play we say why so quiet. and i think the great chant we had this year was if there was a heavy kid on the team we would say this 2 4 6 8 then his number like 24 and say 2 4 6 8 24's over weight.

ps here is a video of us well actually 2 all from this year.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhHgIt8deos

this one is against our main rival.


At 9:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

ohhh, yea, we do all of those, including the "push it" and we also chant S-T-D's At the other teams cheer leaders.    

At 10:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

Leader of a student section? Wow your cool! Haha just a bad ass    

At 10:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

"A rope, a tree, let's hang a referee" whenever he makes a bad call.

My favorite is when a player on the oposing team fouls out you chant step. step. step everytime he takes a step and when he sits down on the bench you go "Sit Down.... You SUCK!"    

At 1:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

theses are all great thongs to say at a game i happen to be the leader of the Euclid Entourage witch is the student section at delaware ahyes look us up were pretty good and its warm the bus up not " warm up the bus"    

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