by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Corey West leads the St. Helens student section in a cheer during the Lions' volleyball game with Parkrose. For those of you who can’t make it out to volleyball games, you’re missing out.

The teams are doing great. St. Helens is ranked second in the state for Class 5A, and Scappoose has gotten off to a strong start as well, but some of the best entertainment is off the court.

That’s not to say the game isn’t captivating, but I’ve got to hand it to the students: you guys are incredible. High school students have a reputation for being rowdy. Bolstered by student athletes on their nights off, both Scappoose and St. Helens have had fantastic turnouts for many of their home matches, and the students who show up are wild from start to finish.

Both schools had white-outs. St. Helens featured a ‘hick-night’ and a tie-dye themed game. The Tribe student section had an entertaining back-and-fourth competition with the visiting Central fans, and the Lions students chant a different set of words for each time their team touches the ball. When the team is facing a match point, the students are facing the wall for luck.

I think that’s great. In fact, I wish it would happen more often. At my high school, the section was organized by one of the teachers who had to offer pizza or free t-shirts to get students to participate. At both schools, it’s the students themselves who come out to support their schoolmates.

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Scappoose students celebrate a point during the Tribe's home volleyball match against Yamhill-Carlton. At St. Helens, it’s easy to see why the students love it. Starting lineups are exciting; the lights come down, the spotlight comes up and each starter is announced to blaring music. Scappoose, too, has an excellent environment, and the students make it that much stronger.

Then you turn your eyes from the student section to the rest of the bleachers. That’s where the parents and grandparents sit, and it’s quiet. Sure, when something huge happens the non-students make some noise, but they’re mice in comparison.

Now, you all know the fan that stands up the whole game, has painted his face with his kid’s number and yells until his voice is hoarse. He’s on the officials about every call, and leaves the gym in a huff if the team loses. I’m not saying the casual fans should be that guy. In fact, please don’t. But what you can do is cheer with the kids when they start yelling ‘D-FENSE’ or give a good, hearty yell when the home team serves.

In this case, I think the students are in the right. They’re young and energetic, but I think they get a lot more out of the game than anybody else. Maybe it’s the ripped up camouflage jacket. Maybe it’s standing up and shouting in support of the home team. Maybe it’s waving a broom as the game enters the third set with a 2-0 lead.

Whatever tickles your fancy, don’t be afraid to let loose a little and simply be a fan for a little while. Even if you lose your voice, it makes for a good story the next day at work.

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