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Zoo Crew Turns Down the Heat but Keeps the Spirit Rambunctious

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Zoo Crew Turns Down the Heat but Keeps the Spirit Rambunctious

Bailey Hamm, Ranger Review Staff Writer

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On a rainy Friday evening, cars crowd the parking lot.  There are so many attendees that the overflow parking is overflowing. I had no idea that basketball was such an integral part of the community until I went to a Greely basketball game. Mr. Shapiro, the athletic director, asked the Ranger Review to write a story on the fan behavior at basketball games.  I am a new student at Greely and was chosen to write the story because I could offer a different perspective. With no knowledge whatsoever about basketball or the community surrounding it I complied, and now, almost six weeks later, though I still have no comprehension of the symbols on the scoreboard, I do have a story.


Basketball games are a big part of the weekend for Greely fans.  For every home game, rain or shine, students pack the stands. Crowded into the student section, I squeezed my way past dozens of spectators – self named the “Zoo Crew.” It’s possible that the Zoo Crew has been around as long as Greely sports have been going on, but recently the fans have taken it to the next level. They even have shirts.

 

One thing I observed early on about these students is that they are intense. They are not just interested in the game.  They are invested in every aspect. Their fanatical interest was an unending supply of knowledge. Katie Bernheisel, the younger sister of a player for the boy’s basketball team, knows every player, if their brother played for Greely, and their chem grade – well, maybe not the last one, but you get my point. I could clearly see that it isn’t just the game, but the sense of community that goes along with the sport that brings fans out. The biweekly winter sport offers a chance to connect with the town and supporters of the game.

 

Being part of a group of fans is really important to the school community.  It strengthens individuals and teaches them to be civil and clear about expectations, especially when they are in large groups.””

— Athletic Director, David Shapiro

However, all this school spirit in one space can be a cause for concern.  Mr. Shapiro told me that the rowdiness of fans got so bad during previous seasons that community members sent emails detailing obnoxious behavior and unruly language.

 

“I think It’s getting better,” he said, praising the students that have stepped up this year to lead the crowds. “It’s the best I’ve seen in the eight years I’ve been here.” He attributes a move in the positive direction to a number of factors: a collaboration between the Athletic Advisory Board and the Civil Rights Team, a promotion of kindness, and a request to see more polite behavior.

 

“I’m fine with noise. I just don’t want them harassing their opponents,” Mr. Shapiro said when asked about regulating student word choice. “I don’t expect them to be perfect.”

 

Mr. Shapiro believes being part of a group of fans is really important to the school community.  It strengthens individuals and teaches them to be civil and clear about expectations, especially when they are in large groups.


While Mr. Shapiro didn’t say anything about the referees, students sure have their opinions. While their incessant shouts of dismay aimed at the referees calls are contrary to what they say to me, many students nod their heads in agreement when Bernheisel says “I hate refs during games but I have so much respect for them.”

 

The rambunctious group, while seemingly unorganized in the hubbub of the game, have a strict hierarchy about who gets to stand in the front row of bleachers. Bernheisel, a sophomore herself, beams with pride as she takes her stance in the front with a group of seniors. A spot on the bleachers comes with a price, though. Katie and senior Anna Kennedy haven’t missed a game. Ever. They sit in the front row with Brandon Campbell, an enthusiastically loud senior. Together they lead the Zoo Crew. Overall, the student section is full of a buzzing, fizzing excitement. Students pump their fists in the air, they scream and cheer and erupt in applause when baskets are scored.

 

On the basketball floor, Greely player Logan Bagshaw faces the crowd and feeds into the fans energy, raising his arms and shouting as the fans’ cheers turn into a roar.

 

I talked with Jakob Bernheisel after a game and asked him some questions about how he and his teammates are affected by fans. He said that “It’s hard at away games because there aren’t as many people to cheer us on.” When I asked him what he would do if he was in the student section, he said that he would encourage “clapping” and “being loud and rowdy”

 

It is clear that the noise and activity of the Zoo Crew is reflected in the outcome of the game. Both of the games I went to ended in victories for the home team. The sentiment of the students about noise of any sort is that it plays an important role against the visiting team.

 

“It’s a way to get into their heads, and it works,” says Anna Kennedy.

 

 

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About the Writer
Bailey Hamm, Ranger Review Staff Writer

 

I am a sophomore at Greely High School and I have a passion for writing and journalism. I am excited to fully experience what the Review has...

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Zoo Crew Turns Down the Heat but Keeps the Spirit Rambunctious