They are the best team no one sees
Imagine that, two straight "Elite 8" appearances in the last two years, and a team this year poised for a deep run in the state tournament. Imagine having the best player in the state, and maybe the best athlete to ever to go to your school.
Now imagine just playing in front of just family and friends
Shame on you Solon. The girls basketball team deserves better than that
It takes me back to my days playing basketball at Strongsville High School in the late eighties. We had made some decent runs in the state tournament, with the worst of our regular season records being 17-3. We had a really good player (Tucker Neale, now the Executive Director at SMAC Basketball), so what we had was similar to what the Solon girls have now. Know what was different?
We had students that cared about our success
They packed the house every night. They all wore "Mustang Rowdies" T-shirts in the same color, so half the home stands were a dark green. They cheered for us (loudly) the whole game. The worst things they did was chant "Who's that?" "Who cares?" "So what?" "Who's he?" and "Go Home!!" after each player's name of the opposing team was announced, or put up newspapers and pretend to be reading them during the starting lineups for the opposing team. When our team's players were announced, they would shout our names in unison back to us and the opposing crowd. It was a real home court advantage. You could almost feel the crowd support and just not hear it. It was good for 5-10 points a game, and is why we never lost at home. As a player, I can't tell you the amount of energy it gave me, it almost forced our entire team to play hard the whole game.
You know what you hear now?....Crickets
Come on Solon...you are better than that
So, WHY do the crowds at the Solon girls basketball games resemble a ghost town in west Texas? Here are a few reasons (or as I like to call them, cop-outs)
- Solon is a football school.... Well yes, it does receive great support for its football team, that is true. The team has had great success over the years. The student section is good, not great. There are "theme" games every home game (white-out, blue-out, gold-out...etc). Students get to hang out with their friends every Friday night home game. MY question is: Why can't you students do it for a girls basketball game? I mean, it's a weekend night, you get to hang out with your friends, and cheer for your team. So I ask: What's the difference? At least with a basketball game, you guys won't freeze halfway through the year like you would at football games. The games are indoors people.
- It's GIRLS Basketball.... Like that is supposed to make a difference? Are they as athletic as the boys? No, lets not go that far. You aren't going to see dunks. You are just going to see wins. They are much more fundamentally sound. These aren't the girls (and guys) you see at the rec center where balls are caroming all over the place. These girls can PLAY. They dribble behind their backs and between their legs. They shoot the three pointer better than most boys teams, and they actually shoot jump shots, not just shot-put it up there. The vast majority of them can beat you in a one-on-one game, and in the case of Kristen Confroy, flat-out embarrass you. They just beat the number one team in the state this week. Imagine if the football team went on the road and beat the number one team in the state? They would be building statues outside the school.
- "I don't like basketball".... And I don't like broccoli, but its good for me, so I eat it. I am sure that the baseball and football players don't like getting to the school at six in the morning for conditioning and lifting. I am sure all of you don't like homework or taking tests. Point is, I would be willing to bet that all of you say you don't like something, then when you try it, you like it. We all don't like to do things we don't really WANT to do. Again I say, what is not to like about hanging out with your friends, blowing off steam by cheering, and showing support for you fellow classmates? It should be something you should look forward to, not despise.
How bad has it gotten? I was at the school for a game about a month ago. The girls team was playing Perrysburg, who just so happens to be ranked in the top ten in the state of Ohio. The boys JV game was being played in the back gym. One would think that with the quality of opponent, and the success that the girls team was having, that there would be a good crowd. There were more people in the back gym watching the boys JV game. Nothing against the boys JV team, but that isn't something that you should think is no big deal. It's something that you should be embarrassed about.
All the pieces are in place. We have the best athlete in the Cleveland area male OR female in Kristen Confroy. We have one of the best "two-way" guards in the area in Jordan Bekelja, and we have two of the best freshmen in the area in Dee Bekelja and Alexis Stover. Alexis Gray is as underrated as it gets.
So what's the problem?
So I call out to the students at Solon. The girls team needs your support. They have worked too hard and accomplished too much to be ignored, as you guys have been doing. They deserve a sell-out crowd, and for you guys to be loud in cheering for the team. This team could possibly win a state championship!! Wouldn't you like to be a part of that? Know what else is interesting? The two teams in the Cleveland area that would give our team the most trouble in my opinion, are Berea-Midpark and Wadsworth. They are also on the opposite side of the state tournament bracket, meaning we won't play them until the state championship game. So, get organized, get color coded, and get your butts to the game.
To the school administration: Recognize this team. Make the games an event to promote. Have a pep rally for the team at school. Do something to draw more interest in this team.
People of Solon, we have a maximum of three more home games left. Next week against Twinsburg is Senior Night. Go to the game. On February 15th, the girls host Aurora in their first game of the state tournament. Be there and be loud. If they beat Aurora, they get another home game. Be there and be loud and show some support.
They are the best sports team at our school
They deserve better from all of us.