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- Written by Andy Wooldridge (CCCougarfan)
- Published on September 25, 2006
- Hits: 11937
The joy of a high school rivalry.
As I settled in to cover the latest renewal of the neighborhood rivalry, in a sweltering gym, rapidly filling with football players fresh from practice, and faithful families watching the younger kids that will soon enough be the varsity players, I was struck by the similarity between this volleyball crowd and the ones that will fill football stadiums on Friday, and the gym all basketball season. And they will be there in the spring, at the diamond, and the track.
Volleyball, though popular, is not normally thought of a big crowd draw, or as a revenue sport. But when it’s a long standing, neighborhood rivalry, everything changes. This isn’t news to those folks at, say, Sherwood when Wilsonville is in town. Or Coquile, when Bandon visits.
It’s the same if its Lake O. & Lakeridge, or St. Paul & Perrydale. The student section stands, only sitting once their favorites are beaten beyond any chance of miracle comebacks, only leaving the seats they are standing on to crowd onto the floor, only to be warned back by the officials. And it doesn’t matter what the event of the day is.
I could tell tonight was volleyball because of the endless shrill whistles that characterize the game. I couldn’t tell it wasn’t the more high-profile basketball rivalry based on the crowd noise, the reaction to every play, or the presence of the local police (who love the big rivalry games; they get in for free to the game they want to see anyway). I’m reminded why it isn’t the best idea to put that many people in a gym, which routinely reaches the 85 degree mark with that many people in it on rainy winter nights, when it is 85 outside. The temp. & humidity both peg the needle on the gauge.
On this night, it was Stayton & Cascade, separated by 5 miles of farm roads, and over 50 years of fighting it out for the privilege of rubbing their neighbors’ nose in tonight’s outcome, until the next renewal. Tonight, business will be good at the A&W. And NCEagle will be happy, until his beloved Eagles & the Cougars clash again. Send in the chess team!