by Scott Boyle
With the fall high school sports action in the record books, Sportshorts takes a look in the next couple of weeks back into the record books.
This fall, five local students, two from Monticello High and three from San Juan High, were named to academic all-state teams in their respective sports.
This award is given to seniors by the UHSAA for academic excellence in the midst of playing sports.
Austin Wilcox and Hunter Bowring were honored for their school-wise efforts while playing football for MHS.
San Juan students Chase Chamberlain, Kira Simpson, and Emily Royer were so honored while participating in boys XC, girls XC and tennis, respectively.
Congratulations to all student athletes and thanks for the importance you place on academics while enjoying the playing fields.
The recently completed seasons for the Buck and Bronco volleyball teams continues a record of solid, stellar volleyball for the two schools.
In the last four years, the Broncos have one state championship (2010), two seconds and a fifth place.
The Buckaroos have two state championships and two fifth place finishes in the past four years.
To what or whom do you attribute these astronomical records? Most would give accolades, and rightly so, to the coaches, Cassy Moon of SJ and Tony Esplin of MHS.
Many would also give a nod to the youth volleyball programs of both communities which presents to these two coaching staffs quality skilled kids, year after year.
Some might credit the competition between the two schools, starting in grade school as the reason for this mighty success.
Can you indulge Sportshorts to suggest another reason for the success?
As SS observed, both the Lady Broncos and Lady Buckaroos at work this season on the volleyball courts, one thing became fairly obvious for both teams... the cheers.
Even though cheerleaders are in attendance at volleyball games, the volleyball players have their own cheers, and it is the cheers that seem to bring unity, cohesion, comradery, perseverance and positive thinking to the teams.
Sportshorts spent some time analyzing the cheers of the Buckaroo volleyball team.
The cheers happen after every point of a game. They are brief, and perfectly choreographed.
In the case of the Buckaroos, after the players on the court give the momentary cheer, the players on the bench immediately repeat the cheer.
I thought at first that the Buckaroos did the same cheer at the end of each point, but closer inspection revealed that there are different cheers.
Amazingly, there is no head cheerleader who calls out “Thunderation” or the name of the cheer. There is no “Ready, OK” pronouncement to get everyone together, no “5, 6, 7, 8” ready count.
The cheers happen seemingly spontaneously, with everyone together, on cue even though no cue is given, and everyone doing the same cheer.
There was never a time when someone mistakenly blurted out the wrong cheer. There was just the sense that they knew which cheer to do.
“How does this happen,” SS wondered. “Is there some type of mental telepathy going on?” The investigation continued.
SS found that the Buckaroo gals have seven different cheers, learned since the very first days of volleyball way back in third and fourth grade.
The cheers correspond with the way the point was won. The girls know instinctively how the point was earned and intuitively give the resultant cheer.
“Hey,” thought SS, “I can relate to this. In Japanese Sumo wrestling, the wrestlers are defined by the techniques they use to win the match. There are about 79 different techniques to win in sumo.”
The only difference between sumo and volleyball cheers, however, is it takes four judges to decide what sumo technique was used and several seconds, sometimes minutes to do so with SS’s favorite being “oshidashi”.
But, the players themselves in volleyball immediately and simultaneously all know the technique with which the point was won.
In a way, the togetherness of the cheers is as finely tuned as the plays the teams run themselves, which SS cannot figure out, anyway.
So what are the seven cheers? SS hopes it is not giving out secret information, but here they are.
1. “Ahhh, Lady Bucks!”
This cheer is given when the point is earned because of the opponents error. There is a corresponding hand clap and stomp which SS cannot describe.
2. “Tick, Tick Boom!!” This one is done when one of the hitters gets a kill.
3. “ACE!” When the serve hits the ground without the opposing team touching it.
4. “Richocet!” This one comes out when a serve bounces off the an opposing player’s arm and goes out-of-bounds.
5. “Ahhh, woo!” Used after an opponent’s kill attempt is blocked.
6. “Wooo…pey” is when a successful tip is made.
7. “Bang Bang” when a back row attack finds the floor on the opponents side.
Again, all the cheers are done seamlessly, energetically, magically, and light-heartedly with perfect cadence, unspoiled sequence of steps and claps, unison, harmony, accord, and unity, making the play enjoyable, entertaining, exciting and fun.
They blend effortlessly and supportively with the rhythms of play that unfolded stunningly in every volleyball match.
The secret of volleyball success are the cheers. Makes one think of SS’s favorite cheer, back in the day: “Thunder, thunder... thunderation. We’re the Buckaroo... congregation. We create a... big sensation. We’re the best team... in the nation.”