They often dress up. One Spring Garden student came to the Class 1A semifinals as a banana. Someone from Mountain Brook dressed up as a panda – a sad panda, if I had to guess. Sometimes they dress down, as shirtless students paint their chests to spell out their school name.
They chant “air ball, air ball” after every shot that misses everything, and no referee can call a game without hearing how he should go back to work at Foot Locker.
They go over the line more times than we would like. They go a tad overboard in making fun of how short an opposing male player is or how tall an opposing female player is and how she might have a forehead that is a bit prominent. Veiled references to skin color aren’t always out of bounds. If you come from a rich or poor school, you can bet the other side is going after that in their chants, too.
It’s tiring sometimes.
So, considering all that, it was interesting to see how some Arab High students reacted when their girls team lost to rival Brewer in the 5A girls championship game by a point on a last-second shot.
They’re two country schools located in North Alabama only 22 miles apart. Students at both schools know each other. Some Brewer parents shop in Arab. One family had a daughter playing for Brewer and another playing for Arab.
The two schools don’t like losing to each other – in any sport. This was the fourth time the girls basketball squads played each other this year, and every matchup was hard, physical and draining.
But after such a disappointing and emotional loss, as the Arab students behind the basket on one side of Jacksonville State’s Pete Mathews Coliseum were preparing to leave, some of them took time to chant to the other team, “Good luck, Brewer! Good luck, Brewer! Good luck, Brewer!”
Brewer and Arab aren’t going to all of a sudden join hands across North Alabama and sing “Kumbaya,” but it was a nice moment, one worth remembering.
Contact Anniston Star Sports Editor Mark Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.