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Column: Empty stands for GH hoops is baffling

Matt DeYoung • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:09 PM

Grand Haven’s student cheering section has taken up the tradition of adopting various themes. They’ve done everything from formal attire to an 80s throwback to a cammo night.

On Tuesday, they must have all decided to pull a disappearing act.

How else do you explain the fact that, at tip-off of Tuesday’s Grand Haven varsity girls basketball game against West Ottawa, the Buccaneers’ student section was empty.

Not empty as in, there were only a handful kids scattered around the stands under the east basket, where the students typically congregate.

Empty as in empty — not a single student to be found.

Oh, it didn’t stay that way all night. At halftime, three Grand Haven students wandered in out of the rain to catch the second half. They started the night at the Buccaneers’ boys game in West Ottawa, but gave up on that contest after the Buccaneers’ boys managed just six points in the first half.

The fans in other parts of Grand Haven Fieldhouse noticed. So did the players on the court.

And to tell the truth, it’s baffling.

It would be one thing if the team on the court was struggling, but that’s obviously not the case with Grand Haven. Heck, the Bucs are the defending state champions, are 13-0 on the season, ranked No. 2 in the state, and have won 36 consecutive games.

If this team can’t pull fans on a rainy Tuesday night, who can?

I get it, there are other things going on. For one thing, the Bucs’ boys team was playing at the same time — one of the casualties of girls basketball moving to the winter.

Plus, I’m sure there was something exciting on TV Tuesday night — The Bachelor, Biggest Loser, reruns of Big Bang Theory, whatever they play on MTV these days — heck, I have no idea what high school kids watch. But c’mon, that’s why we have DVR’s, right?

One thing’s for sure. If the students aren’t coming out to the games on their own, then the administration should be taking steps to get them out, because hanging out with friends in the stands and cheering on your classmates on the basketball court should be one of the highlights of the high school years.

What can be done? For starters, let students into games for free. Come up with fun promotions during halftime. Get the pep band out to more games, which creates a much more festive atmosphere. Encourage students to have fun in the stands instead of nagging on them every time they come up with a cheer that is in the slightest bit controversial.

The Buccaneers’ girls basketball team has brought a tremendous amount of honor and pride to their school and their community over the past 12 months. The last their classmates can do is show up for their home games.

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