Twenty years ago, Grand Haven High School gained statewide notoriety for having a passionate — bordering on over-the-top — student section at boys basketball games played at the Pirate's Pit.
The cheer that particularly irked opponents was the Scoreboard Clock. In the closing seconds of victories (which were frequent), one or two students stood at the front of the wooden bleachers and called out:
"Is that not the scoreboard clock?"
"Is that not the referee?"
"Is that not the losing team?"
"Is that not the winning team?"
The crowd would roar an answer in unison, "Yes that is the scoreboard clock," "Yes that is the referee," "Yes that is the losing team," "Yes that is the winning team," each time pointing to the subject.
It became so popular, a group of students created Scoreboard Clock T-shirts, and nearly everyone in the student section wore them to games each Tuesday and Friday night.
There was no greater sense of pride as a Grand Haven student than leading the Scoreboard Clock cheer.
I don't remember how people were chosen to lead it, but I remember like it was yesterday the game that two friends and I led the vaunted chant.
It was a non-conference game against Grand Rapids Union. Union featured a pair of dynamic players. Thomas Kelly went on to play at Michigan State, but he was hurt that game. Thomas Killgore, who went onto play college ball somewhere in California, picked up the slack, going off for something like 50 points.
Fortunately, Grand Haven had J.P. Huntington, who matched Killgore shot for shot, leading the Buccaneers to a 100-99 double-overtime victory.
It was such a wild game, and it wasn't decided until the final seconds. When it became clear the Bucs would win, my friend Ryan Haller and I slipped to the front of the student section and belted out, "Is that not the scoreboard clock?"
It gives me chills to this day to think back to the fun we had crammed into the sweaty swaying bleachers at the Pit. Those were the days when games would sell out and there were rumors of students scalping tickets for up to $50 apiece.
I'm not sure exactly when the Grand Haven student section gave up the Scoreboard Clock cheer, but I'm quite sure that it was around the time when the Buccaneers moved to their new high school on Ferris Street south of town.
What I do know is, if the Buccaneers' boys basketball team comes up short at Spring Lake on Friday, the Bucs will be on the receiving end of the cheer they made so popular. That's because, ironically, the Scoreboard Clock is now a staple of the Spring Lake Cheering Section, the Core's Crazies.
The Core's Crazies do a lot of things similar to what we used to do at Grand Haven. They're not quite as derogatory (thank goodness) but they do receive an 'A' for creativity. My favorite is the pair of students who dress up as referees, and when a particularly bad call goes against the home team, the students sit down and chant, "Substitution" while the two students in referee garb warm up along the sidelines, getting ready to come in and replace the clearly incompetent official who dared whistle a foul against their team.
I love the creativity and the passion of the student sections from both schools. Long after the final scores have faded from your minds, the excitement and the atmosphere surrounding the games will remain. This is what being a high school student is all about. Support your school, embrace your team, and have the time of your life doing it.
And when it's all said and done, and your team's got the most points, don't forget to point to the scoreboard, and let everyone know, that yes that is the scoreboard clock.