Some of the best ideas for the county’s high school student sections have stared through their Twitter accounts this winter.
On Dec. 17, @oakdalestudents announced: “Well Linganore game tomorrow what should we wear CAMOCAMOCAMO SEE EVERYBODY THERE AT 7 AT THE BEAR CAVE.”
On Jan. 2, @realurbaniacs wrote: “7 tonight at the Hawks nest. White out don’t forget.”
On Jan. 29 @THS2013Seniors typed: “Come out to the basketball game tonight! THS vs. Urbana. Student Section T-Shirts are on sale- $15 each.”
The social networking machine then goes to work.
“Let’s be honest,” Oakdale student and pole vaulting star Emma King, said, “That’s the only way we do it.”
By 7 p.m., the word has usually spread through Twitter, churning out several of the most boisterous, uniformly clad and rowdy groups of practiced and rehearsed teenagers, not much unlike the very players they traveled to root for.
In Ijamsville, two of the loudest and most amusing of these sections reside: Oakdale’s “Oakdaliens” and Urbana’s “Urbaniacs.”
“It’s a tradition that’s been around Urbana for a really long time,” said Urbana senior Colin Murphy, the ringleader of Urbana’s bunch. “Urbana basically created the student sections in Frederick County. We made it a big goal to bring back that student section and make it better than ever. It’s pretty cool that we get the guys going.”
Urbana’s students, like Tuscarora’s and Oakdale’s, pride themselves on ingenuity in their chants and antics. They turn their backs to the court when another team is being introduced or pretend to read the newspaper because, well, they don’t really care who their opponent is that night.
Murphy’s favorite, however, came a year ago in a game with Linganore. His fellow Urbaniacs had each come armed with miniature bottles of baby powder. When Urbana forward Buckey Erichsen was introduced, the Urbaniacs emptied a touch of powder into their hands, shook it up, and threw clouds of it into the air in imitation of National Basketball Association and Miami Heat star LeBron James.
“We try to be as original as much as we can,” Murphy said. “It’s something we take a lot of pride in.”
The janitors and coaches weren’t quite as amused. The game had to be delayed 20 minutes to clean up the snowstorm of powder.
Across town, the Oakdaliens have devised some equally witty stunts, namely a roller coaster ride at halftime or a rendition of the song “If you’re happy and you know it.” Their rendition has a slight word modification (“If you’re losing and you know it”) directed at the opposing student section.
“It’s hard to focus on the game as much as attacking their student section,” said Jack Ricker, the brains behind a number of the Oakdalien projects such as T-shirts that read ‘Connolly Crazies.’ “It’s always interesting to hear what they have to say.”
As for the roller coaster ride, Ricker has a patent on that as well. Prior to the start of each third quarter, Ricker will make his way to the front of the Oakdale section and put his hands up in the air, as if he’s riding a roller coaster that’s about to dive into a stomach-lurching drop. And then he “drives” the coaster, leaning one way to signal that the coaster is banking a certain direction, leaning back as if it were cranking up a hill and abruptly bowing down to signal another drop. Every student follows suit.
“I think [the cheers] have just kind of evolved,” King said. “The best way to know them is to go and just to pick them up as you go.”
Over off Ballenger Creek, Tuscarora’s students have a funny take on a safety-first mentality. They attempt to ensure that there will be no injuries throughout the game by properly stretching as a group — usually numbering in triple-digits — before tip-off and the beginning of the third quarter.
Left and right arms go over the head for 10 seconds then across the chest for a 10-second count before touching their toes.
But with each section having its fair share of wit, even Murphy and the Urbana students admit that Oakdale might have the upper-hand in the creativity department.
“Oakdale is the funnest,” Urbana golfer and loyal Urbaniac Ryan Woodward said. “They basically cheer whatever they want.”
It should also be noted that Oakdale may have a slight advantage in that its current students have invented every Oakdale tradition. The new school is scheduled to graduate its first seniors in the spring.
“That’s a huge factor,” King said. “Not only is this our first year graduating as students, but we started there from the beginning. This is really our school ... everybody absolutely loves our school.”
Many would think that with so many students with such panache, things might boil over into the parking lot after a game. Fortunately, this hasn’t been the case.
“We don’t like each other during the game,” Woodward said. “But we have a certain respect for them afterward.”
That’s not to say that there isn’t any smack talk done afterwards, but even that is generally done from the safety of cyberspace.
“Honestly Tuscarora [is bad] at pretty much everything,” @oakdalestudents wrote on Jan. 8.