For me, there is no fan like the basketball fan.
Sure, football and soccer have the jersey wearers, the face painters, the horned shoulder pad dudes, the costumes and camaraderie, but most fans sit so far away from the action that the players and coaches can’t hear what they’re saying.
In high school sports a lot of times, the football and soccer games are more like social gatherings than they are about cheering their team on every play.
I don’t find that to be as true of the basketball fan, and they have so much more to offer.
The choreographed cheers, theme nights and the underlying roar of a basketball game over the dribbling of the ball and squeaking of the shoes is something that can’t be duplicated.
I prefer that cheering fan base as close to the court as possible. A little gamesmanship between players, fans and even coaches can go a long way, in my opinion.
And this year, with the 2019-20 basketball season upon us, there should be plenty to cheer about.
In the Southwestern 4A is Independence good enough to win its third straight boys title or does someone like Myers Park, Butler or Rocky River take control? What about Porter Ridge in their second season under Garrett Malone?
Butler looks like the top dog on the girls side of things, but Hickory Ridge, Myers Park and Independence look particularly strong, too.
Charlotte Catholic tied for the Southern Carolinas girls championship and won the boys title outright. Both teams have stars back from last year who can extend that dominance another season.
But I expect Marvin Ridge, Weddington, Sun Valley and even Monroe to be right in the thick of that boys mix, and you can’t count out up-and-coming Cuthbertson.
The Cavs girls played in the state title game but had to fight the Cougars to just tie for the league crown, so that’s a battle and Weddington is much better.
Union Academy had a girls basketball season to remember, and have some key pieces back. The Cardinal boys may have what it takes to win that league, too.
Forest Hills went on an unprecedented run. They’ll be down some, but coach Matt Sides is absolutely one of the best in the biz and will get them back quick.
The Yellow Jacket girls could be good, too.
In all, this year is packed with questions and expectations.
I expect all of the conference title races to become tighter this season than they’ve been in recent memory with one team clearly the favorite.
With so many questions and so much possibility, your team needs you in the stands on basketball nights. Cheer for your team and make it fun, but also remember to keep it classy.
But most of all make the cheering loud enough to give your team that true home-court advantage this season.