Tuesday, November 24, 2009

They may not look like cheerleaders...

They congregate in an area of the bleachers directly behind the opponent’s bench, emblazoned in Gryphon red, toting paper cones, megaphones, pots and pans, and essentially anything else that can make the most amount of noise and cause the biggest ruckus.

For those who may not have seen, the Gryphon men’s basketball team has a new cheering section.

In a great show of support for their fellow Gryphon varsity athletes, members of the university’s football team, along with their friends, have made it their mission to make as much noise as they can at varsity basketball games, in an attempt to frustrate the opposition.

And so far, it seems to be working.

The supersized cheerleading unit made their first appearance a few weeks ago during the Gryphons basketball home opening weekend, strategically situating themselves behind the opposing Ottawa Gee-Gees team bench.

It’s incredible to see that despite the football season being over, the opportunity to be a fan never ceases. They’ve emptied the kitchen cupboards and taken crowd noise to the next level.

When the Gee-Gees had the ball, the section hollered. When the Gee-Gees turned it over, the group howled. And when the Gee-Gees huddled around the bench, they erupted.
The Gee-Gees, looking frazzled, were forced to move their huddle away from their bench and underneath their own basket instead. Success! The noise was too great. Smiles crept upon the faces of other fans enjoying the spectacle.

Effective? Absolutely. Unsportsmanlike? No way.

This kind of patriotism, loyalty and dedication is what varsity sports should feature on a regular basis. It’s this kind of camaraderie that helps create a sense of school spirit, sadly often unseen on this campus, aside from Homecoming football.

But not only is the newfound cheering section effective, their methods are starting to spread and pay off. You can literally see the level of frustration on the faces of opposing players and coaches as the contingent of football players increases the decibel levels. Similarly, you can also see the appreciation on the faces of the Gryphon players on the court and on the bench. The crowd excitement is an inspiration for good play, and vice-versa.

While the Gryphons may not be winning, they’re certainly playing an exciting brand of basketball, with three of their first four home games undecided until the final two minutes of play. The crowd sizes are increasing and the buzz around the gym is encouraging.

Is this growing level of support unique only to Gryphons basketball, or a sign of changing times on campus? I can only hope for the latter; perhaps, students are truly starting to embrace campus sports and establish that missing sense of Gryphon identity and pride for varsity athletics.

Even if you’re not a basketball, or even a sports fan, I can promise that the excitement that emerges from the gym is worth the price of admission. The Gryphons won’t be back in action on campus until after the new year. When it’s game time, come for the cheering, stay for the basketball. And don’t forget your frying pan.


  1. Unfortunately Tom Kendall has banned the football team from sitting behind the visitors bench. If the athletic director doesn't allow athletes to support athletes how can he expect the rest of Guelph to join in.

  2. Thanks for the comment and interesting piece of information. At the last men's game on Wednesday, I did notice that the football team was not in their familiar place behind the visitor's bench, but rather, on the opposite side of the bleachers - still making noise, but obviously not with the same kind of effectiveness. I'll be looking into this for a future story.

  3. It would be nice to see some "quid pro quo" next football season. Though Alumni Stadium needs a lot more than a few BB players. Why aren't there any cheerleaders at football games? Or a pep band? What about even one guy dressed up and holding a big 'D' and a piece of picket fence?

    What was cool was the three or four young ladies at the Mac game in Hamilton who were wearing pigtails, halter tops and bib overalls, all the while moving about the stands encouraging Guelph fans to cheer.